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Introduction: The EuroPris Family Relations Expert Group, of which RISE is part of, are interested in gathering best practice on visiting facilities and psychical structure. Your input will be invaluable to inform a future working paper based on this subject.
There are open round table visits. There are counter visits where there is a physical barrier between visitor and prisoners and finally there are full screen visits for those who have subverted the other visits.How have children been taken into account?
Yes the vistor centers do cater for childrens needs. Where the visting facilities have been upgraded childrens play areas are provided. This is a work in progress.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
We have some good visitor centers and some good visitin arrangements. Sme prisons have moved to round table visits to increase normalisation and Family Links is being rolled out across the estate gradually.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
Vistis should be used as an opportunity for intervention with the family rather than just a security event. Programmes such as Family Links in Ireland seek to achieve this through a prison wide response. The physical environment is improtant in this regard particulary in terms of being child friendly.
There are four different types of views: Regular communication: in a box with a glass in the middle Intimate vis a vis: a double bedroom with bathroom, condoms, towels and soap Family vis a vis: in a spacious room with armchairs, sofa and table Family Meetings/family days: These are activities of a treatment nature. These are days in which a certain unit of the prison center (therapeutic community, artistic workshops, school or other..) is organizing an open day with the families of all those inmates who wish to participateHow have children been taken into account?
There are prisons that have enabled a space for "kindergarten kids' provided with toys and child care by volunteer educatorsAre the visiting facilities in good condition?
The centers with an area for children must guarantee their safety. The spaces for families vis a vis are spacious, safe and quietIs there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
The Irish Prison Service (IPS) is committed to making visiting a prison as easy as possible for visitors. IPS understands the importance of helping prisoners maintain and develop relationships with family and friends and is committed to enhancing where possible, and subject to appropriate security considerations, the visiting facilities for prisoners while in custody. Prisoners may nominate up to eight visitors, and can request changes of nominees once per month. Sentenced prisoners are entitled to at least one visit per week. Remand prisoners are entitled to one 15 minute visit per day, with a maximum of six days per week. All visitors to a closed prison must book their visit in advance. Such visits are conducted in a specially designated area with a wooden counter providing a division / barrier between the prisoner and the visitor, known as “open visits”. There is comfortable seating, toilet and locker facilities for visitors in the waiting area. All visits are supervised. Must prisons, including the two open centres “open visits”, there is no automatic right to an open visit. Some of our prisons operate a “screened visits facilities” which means that there will be a glass window between the prisoner and the visitor. Screened visits may be applied for the following reasons, 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 detection unit.How have children been taken into account?
The Irish Prison Service (IPS) Three Year Strategic Plan 2012-2015 set out the commitment of the IPS to “strengthen family supports to facilitate on-going contact with prisoners while in custody and their reintegration post release, with appropriate supports and programmes”. This lead to the establishment of the Families & Imprisonment Group and a pilot project entitled the ‘Family Links Programme’. The project aims to develop parenting and family programmes specific to the needs and requirements of the prisoner population. The IPS has embarked on a refurbishment programme of visiting areas, this has resulted in the provision of family room facilities, indoor and / or outdoor play areas in a number of prisons. Children are allowed to visit, provide they are accompanied by an adult during the course of the visit. Some constraints may be necessary with regard to numbers due to space and seating arrangements. IPS encourages a flexible approach to ensure that all children who wish to visit their parent in prison can do so.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
Yes, visiting facilitates are maintained in good condition and in accordance with Health and Safety regulations. Refurbishment includes a design upgrade to maximise light and space, promote a bright and friendly atmosphere while minimising risk and providing safe and secure custody.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
The Irish Prison Service operates a booked visits system. Any person entering a prison to visit 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 Prison Service electronic system. This procedure also applies for professional visitors, i.e. solicitors, police, representatives from other government agencies, etc. The Governor is entitlement under the Prison Rules 2007 -2014, Rule 36 (9) to prohibit 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, All visitors (including children) may be subject to screening by the Operation Security Screening staff, i.e. all visitors entering a prison are subject to airport style walk through detectors. In addition x ray scanners are in use in closed prisons and all hand luggage, packages, coats etc. are subject to scanning. An information booklet is provided to prisoners outlining the rules, procedures and services available, including details of the visits system. This information is provide with a link to the Booked Visits application tab on the IPS website www.irishprisonservice.ie
In general our prisons have one or more visiting rooms for a group of inmates and their visitors, separate consulting rooms for contact with lawyers, spiritual services etc, and separate private rooms for conjugal visits.How have children been taken into account?
There are some toys and an area for playing available in the general visiting rooms. Recently some prisons have been experimenting with family rooms, which are designed especially to facilitate contact between inmates and their children. The rooms have child friendly furniture, decorations and toys for all ages. The first visits in the family rooms have been positive experiences for all persons involved and are promissing for the future development of the climate within our prisons. And also more prisons have starting organizing ‘father-children days’ or ‘family days’, were inmates can meet their children in a more friendly environment, like the sports hall or the sports field outside, and take part in organized activities like playing games or sporting activities.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
Yes. And we try to make family visits as safe and childfriendly as possible.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
We acknowledge the importance of family contact for inmates and their families. Especially for inmates with childern their father role can play a important part in their re-integration into society and desistance from crime after detention. We also recognise that detention facilities are not a place suited for quality time with children. We try to minimize the negative effect of the detention setting, and are experimenting with family rooms and family days to accommodate inmates and their children.
We would like to point out first of all that we strive for excellent relation between prisoner and his/her family or other relations. We have different types of visit from visits boxes with glass in between to open family visiting facilities. The form of visits in cases of each prisoner is taken by prison stuff team according to their assessment. It depends on prisoner’s behaviour, regime of enforcement of penal sanction, possible sanctions due to violations of prison house rules etc. Parts of our policy are also efforts to provide prisoners with possibilities of departures out of the prison facility, which contribute to reintegration into society and are as such also contacts with the family.How have children been taken into account?
Few years ago we put special attention to the account of children’s visits in our facilities and as a result we equipped all our visiting areas with play areas for children. We collaborated also with an NGO Catholic Prison Ministry which donated children toys to provide them with friendlier atmosphere. In the women prison inmates decided also to painted the walls to get different ambient in the place for visits with children.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
We put many efforts in achieving health, friendly and pleasant conditions for visits. We believe that facilities are safe and much as possible stress less for families and children.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
We would like to add that we try to develop this area of prisons life in the mode to hear what the needs of prisoners are and not at least also what do visitors, especially children need for adaptations of our facilities. We see that sometimes even a small step or change is needed to succeed better sense for all involved parties.
Most prisons run “Family Days” which, with the support of partner providers and volunteers are a more flexible attempt to offer an opportunity for prisoners to engage more freely with their families. They do not occur as frequently as ordinary visits but are often timed with school holidays etc Our prisons have a long history of working with voluntary sector organisation’s who specialise in family work and who offer valuable partnership’s for usHow have children been taken into account?
The quality and space of our visits facilities vary amongst each prison. There will be some excellent examples of visits facilities within our estateAre the visiting facilities in good condition?
Most prisons would have toys/books available for children and most prisons work with voluntary sector/volunteer support to offer regularly, or on occasion, play area facilities Our prisons are currently being encouraged to be more flexible with regard to children bringing in homework and their own reading booksIs there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
The standard visit experience is where a prisoner would sit at a table where a limited number of friends/family would join. The prisoner would be required, generally, to remain seated but there would be no barrier between. “Closed visits” (where there is a glass barrier between) are rarely used but where they are used it is when there has been instances of or intelligence/suspicion about, for example, drug smuggling.
Family visits are possible. In most prisons, a room has been transformed into a ‘living room’ to this purpose, allowing the detainee to meet his family in a family-friendly environment (and not in a prison environment).How have children been taken into account?
Yes, special attention is paid to all children’s visits. Children’s visits can take place in specially designated rooms where toys are available.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
Yes, in many prisons a lot of attention and care is being given to child- and family-friendly spaces.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
Conjugal visits are possible too.
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All prisons have open visiting facilities which are furnished to be family friendly. On occasion, some prisoners may not be allowed access to the main visits room for a range of reasons. In this case, they will be offered a 'closed visit' where visitors are separated from the prisoner by a screen.How have children been taken into account?
Children are a key priority in visits to parents or family members in custody. Toys and play areas are in most prisons and are designed to be child and family friendly where contact and bonding can take place. SPS has a family contact policy in place.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
New build prisons and the refurbishment of older parts of the penal estate ensures that excellent visiting facilities exist in Scottish prisons. Many jails now have Family 'Hubs' or Visiting Centres where visitors can go before or after the visit itself. This can be to book in, use lockers, have something to eat or drink or have a chat to the staff. Staff within the centres are either from a charity or volunteers. Visitors may also find the Family Contact Officer there at certain times. The staff will know about the visiting times and can help with any problems the visitor may have before or after the visit. Staff can also help visitors to access support services if they require someone to speak to.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) recognises that children and families are hugely motivating factors that can influence behavioural change in those in custody and the Service is committed to working with families, community and voluntary sector partners in order to maintain meaningful family contact throughout a period of imprisonment. We want to strengthen the relationship between the SPS and families affected by imprisonment to ensure that both offender and family receive the best possible support during this difficult time. We now have Standards for Encouraging Family Contact which details the minimum level of support that is now available in every establishment. These standards became operational on 1st April 2013 and include five key standards: • Access SPS will offer opportunities for children and families to maintain contact with their relatives. • Communication SPS will provide information which is accessible and meets the needs of families. • Participation SPS will actively encourage families to participate at key stages of a relative’s sentence. • Respect SPS staff will treat every visitor as an individual, and with dignity and respect. • Safety SPS will ensure families visiting a relative in prison do so in a safe and pleasant environment.
There are different visit facilities in Schleswig-Holstein. In every prison is an open family visiting facility. In one prison we have a "Langzeitbesuchszentrum" where prisoners and their families could spend 6 hours without custody in a separate apartment with a kitchen area, bathroom, bedroom and living room with a play and an outdoor area. This unit is especially for long-term prisoners to strengthen the family bonds.How have children been taken into account?
There are toys and a play area for children in nearly every prison. The prison provides a lot of toys/games for younger children, we try to accomplish the proposal for older children. The child friendly atmosphere is improvable, it depends on the staff training, building operations and financial resources.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
Most of the visiting facilities are in a good condition and a pleasant place to meet. The prisoner and her/his partner have the parental responsibility of the children during the visit.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
We provide a baby-change-unit in nearly every prison and the visitors could lent a baby carrier for the visit.
In Estonian prisons the prisoner and the visitor are provided with a specific meeting room. For short-term meetings the meeting room or any other prescribed room is separted with glass wall between the prisoner and the visitor. However, it is possible to have short-term visits without the separation, but this is rather allowed to close family members. For long-term visits there is a separate room complex at the prison with sleeping, cooking and washing facilities. Long-term visits meeting room consists of one or two rooms. Long-term visits expenses are payed by the prisoner.How have children been taken into account?
Currently there are not any special rooms for children, although it has been planned for the future. In the meeting room waiting area there is a place for children to play. It is also possible to request toys to the meeting room.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
All Estonian prisons meeting facilities are safe for visitors. For long-term visits the rooms provide a pleasent being for the prisoner and the visitor. Rooms for short-term visits are based on particular needs of the prison and taking account into security.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
We do not have anything else to add about visiting facilities in Estonian prisons.
According with Section 45 of The Sentence Execution Code of Latvia: “The persons sentenced with deprivation of liberty, except persons sentenced with temporary deprivation of liberty, shall have an opportunity to meet their relatives and other persons without the presence of a representative of the deprivation of liberty institution in accordance with the procedures and extent laid down in this Code: short visits – from one to two hours in order to facilitate the maintaining and renewal of socially useful contacts; long visits – from six to forty-eight hours in order to facilitate the maintaining of kinship and family contacts. The persons sentenced with temporary deprivation of liberty shall have an opportunity to meet their relatives and other persons without the presence of a representative of the deprivation of liberty institution in accordance with the procedures and extent laid down in this Code: short visits – from one to two hours in order to facilitate the maintaining and renewal of socially useful contacts. During long-duration visits the convicted persons shall be permitted to stay with their relatives – parents, children, adopted persons, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren or a spouse. According to the decision of the administration of the deprivation of liberty institution short-duration visits with other persons may be permitted provided that the convicted person has had a common household or a common child with this person before commencing serving of the sentence.” According with Section 67 and 68 of the Regulations No.423 “Internal Regulations of a place of imprisonment” signed by the Cabinet of Ministers on May 30, 2015, during a long-term visit together with the convict can stay two adults and two minors at the same time. A convict who is undergoing treatment in the Latvian Prison Hospital cannot have long-term visits. The head of the Latvian Prison Hospital can allow short-term visits for convicts with serious illnesses. These visits are not included in the overall count of the visits. According with Section 13 of the Law On the Procedures for Holding under Arrest “An arrested person has the right to a meeting with his or her relatives or other persons for at least one hour not less than once a month.” Section 13.1 of the Law On the Procedures for Holding under Arrest states that “(1) The meeting determined in Section 13, Paragraph one, Clause 6 of this Law with relatives or other persons shall take place without the presence of a representative of the administration of the investigation prison. (2) In an exceptional case, after individual evaluation of each case and justifying such a decision, the head of the investigation prison may take a decision on the course of the meeting referred to in Paragraph one of this Section in the presence of a representative of the administration of the investigation prison, if it is necessary due to safety considerations or due to the interests of criminal proceedings, or it is requested by the visitor. Such decision may be contested to the head of the Latvian Prison Administration in accordance with the procedures laid down in the Administrative Procedure Law.” From the previously mentioned we can conclude that in places of imprisonment two types of visits are provided: short-term and long-term. In the short-term visit facilities where the visits with family members and other persons are carried out without the presence of prison officer for a short period of time – from one to two hours, meeting of inmate and their relatives or other persons are carried out without glass wall between them. During long-term visit (from 6 to 48 hours), convict meets with their visitor in a special room, where there is a room, a kitchen and restroom/toilet. Long-term visit facilities are equipped with everything necessary for personal hygiene, cooking and rest. During long-term visit the relatives of the convict are given the chance to use stove (gas or electrical), kitchen appliances, refrigerator, cutlery and shower in the long-term facilities. Payment for these services are carried out according with Regulations No.739 “Latvian Prison Administration paid service price list” signed by the Cabinet of Ministers on September 3, 2013.How have children been taken into account?
In all places of imprisonment short-term visit facilities are repaired and renovated. The rooms are always clean and their condition is according with the demands of normative acts. Taking into account the current infrastructure of visiting facilities in places of imprisonment, in short-term visit facilities there are provided no place for playing or toys for kids. However, if persons who have children with them have taken toys with them to short-term visit, then it is allowed to use them during the visit. Long-term visiting facilities in places of imprisonment are constantly being renovated and upgraded, so that the environment would be appropriate and friendly for children and to give the possibility for kids to play. In the majority of long-term visit facilities in places of imprisonment for children there are toys, markers, colour pencils and children books. The long-term visit facilities are always clean and their condition is in accordance with the demands of normative acts.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
Please see the answer to 2nd question.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
Swedish prisons are classified as 1, 2 and 3. Class 1 prisons have the highest security, followed by class 2 and 3. All prisons, regardless of security class, have visiting rooms that are of comfortable size and pleasantly decorated. The visiting rooms are used by one client, and his or her visitors, at a time. There are thereby no remarkable difference regarding the visiting facilities in different security classes, except that some of the prisons in class 3 also allow visits in the ward and not only in the visiting rooms. A few prisons, in class 1 and 2, also have a special visiting room in the form of a small apartment furnished like a home. The Swedish Prison and Probation Service (PPS) prioritize clients who will have a visit from his or her partner and children for these apartments. The apartment may also, after approval, be used for overnight stays where the client may spend the night with his och her visitors. However, a child is not allowed to spend the night without an accompanying adult. Finally, the PPS only use visits boxes as described in the question to a small extent.How have children been taken into account?
Since many of the clients have children who come to visit, each prison shall, according to the PPS regulations, have at least one specific visiting room that is suitable for children. These rooms shall be constructed in a way that appeals to children and hopefully create a comfortable and child friendly atmosphere. For example, these rooms have cheerful colors on the walls, curtains and carpets, child-friendly paintings and furniture that are suitable for children. Further, these rooms should be equipped with toys, books and other items that suit children of all ages – from infants to teenagers. There are outdoor playgrounds at some prisons, most commonly at prisons in class 3. At higher security levels, children that visit in the special visiting rooms (visiting apartments) may have the opportunity to go out and a small area with some playground equpiment.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
The visiting facilities are kept in good condition and cleaned regularly. All visiting rooms are equipped with a table, chairs and windows. They also have toilets, in the room or nearby. The visiting apartments are well-equipped with tables, chairs, beds, windows, toilet and other relevant items such as kitchen utensils and a television. The visiting facilities are pleasantly decorated to create a comfortable and quiet place for visits. The purpose is to allow the client and his or her family to be able to interact in a family way and make the visit more similar to a meeting in society. The safety of the clients and the visitors are important to the PPS. Every visiting room and visiting apartment is equipped with an alarm that can be used by the client or the visitor to call for assistance. Sometimes the PPS have decided that the visit shall be supervised for security reasons, in what cases personnel attend during the whole visit. Another safety aspect is that visitors never meet other clients during the visit, with the exception of the visits that take place in the ward in some prisons in class 3. It is important to the PPS to inform and prepare children before they come for a visit, considering that they are unfamiliar to the prison environment and lacks experience. For that reason personnel in the prison send brochures with relevant information adapted for children, for example what a prison looks like, what to except regarding visitation procedures and which items that are not allowed to bring inside a prison.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
The procedure for visiting a client is carefully administrated. Every person, that a client wants to receive a visit from, must first be approved by the PPS. First the client has to apply for a visit permit on a special form. The form is sent to the intended visitor so that person can agree to the contact, if he or she wants to. Thereafter the PPS do a risk assessment, considering both what is know about the client and what is know about the visitor, for example if the visitor is convicted of a crime. Than the PPS may grant a visit permit although in some cases with some special terms, for example that all visits shall be supervised.
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Facilities: Visits room/family room, visitors' area (where more than one inmate receive visits at the same time), visiting quarter (high security prisons). Security measures will vary dependent on the security level under which the inmate is held. Prison staff will also conduct an individual security assessment of the inmate before the visit is granted. It is not common that is considered necessary to separate the visitors and prisoners by glass.How have children been taken into account?
All prisons have visiting facilities which are designed especially for visits by children. The rooms have bright colours and it is possible to play with toys, play games and watch TV etc. Several prisons also have outside play areas available.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
The vast majority of them are in good condition.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
Every prison and probation office in Norway has a child coordinator. The children coordinators are to assist with information, advice and guidance to children and caregivers who are affected by a prison sentence. The coordinator is responsible for the availability of relevant information aimed at the offenders, children, children’s families and other affected parties. The guidelines for children coordinators stress the fact that this person holds a coordinating position in ensuring that the needs of prisoners’ children are met with according to current laws and regulations. The coordinator is expected to take on a supervisory position and advocate this work within the prison or probation office where they are employed. The children coordinator scheme was established in order to secure children’s rights and reduce the negative impact a parent’s serving of a prison sentence or remanded in custody has on a child. It is also important for the offender/prisoner to be able to retain his/her role as a parent, and to protect their social network throughout the imprisonment, in order to resume their role as a parent after being released.
Croatian Prison system has three kinds of visit rooms for adults and special rooms for children. Pretrial detainees receive adult visitors in visits boxes with glass between the visitors and prisoners. Sentenced prisoners receive adult visitors in visit rooms with tables without barrier. When they deserve benefit of unsupervised visit with their spouse, it takes place in the room with bed and bathroom. There is no facilities for children to stay overnight with their parents. Children can visit their incarcerated parents in the special room, equipped with didactic materials and toys. In some penitentiaries there isn’t special room for children’s visits but there is one part of the room arranged for children’s visits which are arranged in time, reserved for children's visits. When the weather conditions are good, in some penitentiaries visits are taking place in open space with gazebos and playgrounds for children in park or gardens inside of penitentiary.How have children been taken into account?
In all prisons and penitentiaries there is special area for children’s visits with day light, brightly colored walls, educational materials and toys. In some prisons and penitentiaries there are decorated children’s playgrounds and refreshment areas. Judicial police officers are performing only visual check of the child coming to see a prisoner, and are trying to establish a friendly relationship with the child. On special occasions (i.e. New Year celebration and alike) security staff in some prisons is not wearing a uniform in order to contribute to a friendly atmosphere for children.Are the visiting facilities in good condition?
Rooms for children's visits and playgrounds in open space are in good conditions and safe for children. Rooms are renovated mostly at least once in two years, and every year equipped with new didactic materials and toys, mostly from donations through cooperation with NGO-s.Is there something else you would like to add about visiting facilities in prisons?
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