Visiting a Prison

The Irish Prison Service is committed to making visiting a prison as easy as possible for visitors. The Prison Service understands the importance of helping prison maintain and develop relationships with family and friends and is committed to enhancing where possible, and subject to appropriate security considerations, the visiting facilities and regimes for prisoners.

Booked Visits System

The Irish Prison Service operates a booked visits system. Any person entering a prison to visit you must make an appointment in advance providing specific personal details in order to gain admittance to the prison. These include the visitor name, address, date of birth, prisoner being visited, relationship of prisoner to visitor and date of visit. Photographic identification will be required from the visitor on arrival and will be used to confirm the date of birth given when booking their visit. All details are recorded on the electronic system. This procedure also applies for professional visitors.

How many visitors are allowed? – Up to 3 adults are permitted to visit. There is no limit on the number of children permitted however, consideration must be given to safety and security regarding numbers.

Are children allowed to visit? – We are committed to prisoners maintaining the relationship they have with their children. Children are allowed to visit but some constraints may be necessary with regard to numbers due to constraints of space and seating arrangements. The Irish Prison Service encourages a flexible approach to ensure that all children who wish to visit their parent in prison can do so.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Barring of Visitors – The Governor is entitlement under Rule 36 (9) to may refuse to permit a visit to a prisoner by a person or persons if he or she believes it to be necessary in order to –

(a) prevent the entry into the prison of controlled drugs or other prohibited articles or substances,

(b) prevent a conspiracy to commit a criminal offence, or (c) otherwise maintain good order and safe and secure custody,

Operation of Drug Dogs – . Visitors (including children) should be aware that they may be subject to screening by the Drug Dog. Visitors should obey the instructions of the security screening staff when being screened.

Screened Visits -Some of our prisons (such as Cloverhill and St. Patrick’s) have only “screened visits facilities” which means that there will be a glass window between you and your visitor. Others prisons can provide “open visits”.

There is no automatic right to an open visit and the Governor may insist on screened visits on occasions for security reasons. Reasons why screened visits may be applied include previous attempts to retrieve contraband, evidence of drug misuse, previous attempts by the visitor to pass contraband and / or positive indications on the visitor by the drug dogs. These triggers could reasonably lead the Governor to believe there would be a risk in relation to contraband if an open visit was to take place.

Requesting a Visit

For details on requesting a family visit click here.

For details on requesting a professional visit click here.