COVID-19 information

In-person visits to Victorian prisons have resumed. 

Virtual visits via Zoom bookings remain available. 

If you have any urgent concerns – please contact the relevant prison or call 1300 191 835.

On this page

  • Personal contact with a prisoner
  • Postal mail
  • Phone calls
  • Video visits
  • In-person personal visits
  • Email a Prisoner service
  • Property for prisoners during COVID-19 restrictions
  • Sending money
  • Bans and previous imprisonment or community correction order
  • Assistance for visitors

Personal contact with a prisoner

If you want to contact your friend or family member you need to know which prison they are in. If you don't know their prison location you can contact them by writing to the below address and Corrections Victoria will forward your mail.

Write to:

[Prisoner's first name and surname]
c/- Corrections Victoria
GPO Box 123
Melbourne VICTORIA 3001
AUSTRALIA

If you are on the prisoner's approved visit or phone list, call Corrections Victoria on 1300 191 835. Instructions on how to get on a prisoner’s approved visit and/or phone lists are below.

If you are a legal professional or service provider phone and video conferencing is available.

Postal mail

If you would like to send mail to your family member or friend address your letter directly to the prison in which they are located. Or you can send your letter to a central point and it will be provided to them. Write to:

[Prisoner's first name and surname]
c/- Corrections Victoria
GPO Box 123
Melbourne VICTORIA 3001
AUSTRALIA

There are restrictions on the type of letters that can be sent to prisoners. These can vary from prison to prison but may include musical cards or extras like stickers and photographs.

Contact the specific prison for help on what you can and cannot send.

All mail (other than exempt official mail, for example from a lawyer or the Victorian Ombudsman) will be checked for banned items.

The prison may censor the letter if the content risks the security and good order of the prison or is threatening or harassing.

Forwarded mail

If a prisoner is transferred to another prison or is in hospital for an extended period, their mail will be forwarded to them.

Delays to mail

Australia Post is reporting delays to deliveries due to high volumes and this may affect how long it takes for your mail to arrive. Thanks for your understanding. More information is on the Australia Post website (External link).

Phone calls

Prisoners can make phone calls to family, friends and legal professionals, as well as to other services.

You cannot make a phone call to a prisoner but, if you would like to receive a call, they must add you to their phone list. They have access to instructions and help in how to do this.

Once the prisoner has added you to their phone list, the prison will contact you to confirm your phone number. The prison will also ask you if you agree to receive phone calls from the prisoner.

If you agree you will now be on the prisoner’s phone list.

If you are not on their phone list, you can send them a letter asking them to add you.

Access to phone calls

Prisoners can have a maximum of 10 phone numbers on their phone call list at any one time.

Phone calls are limited to 12 minutes per call and may be monitored and recorded for security purposes.

Prisoners must pay for all phone calls, except calls to the Victorian Ombudsman and the Health Services Commissioner.

Video visits

Video visits are an important option for prisoners accommodated in designated COVID-19 units as they cannot take part in the in-person visit program. It is also used by prisoners when family and friends are not able to attend the prison.

To have a video visit with your friend or family member you will need to provide 100 points of identification each time.

At the start of your video visit the terms and conditions will be displayed on the screen. Please read and understand the terms and conditions before agreeing to them. You need to agree to these terms and conditions to continue with the visit.

Being added to a visit list

To access a visit with your friend or family member they must add you to their visit list. They will receive help in how to do this, but they will need the following details about you:

  • full name [first name and surname]
  • date of birth
  • address.

The prisoner will tell you when they have added you to their visit list. You can confirm that you are on their visit list and the prisoner’s location by contacting:

If you are not on a prisoner’s visit list, but would like to be, you can write to them and ask them to add you.

Recording of video visits

From 1 April 2022, prisoners’ personal video visits will be recorded. Recording visits is to improve safety and security of prisons. 

When personal video visit recording is operating, you will see a disclaimer on screen to tell you your personal video visit is being recorded and may be monitored. 

If you agree, the video visit will begin. If you do not agree, the video visit will end.

A piece of audio played will then advise you that your personal visit is being recorded and a recording symbol will be displayed. This symbol will be visible to all people on the call for the entire length of the personal video visit. 

Zoom

All prisons use Zoom for video visits. If Zoom is not available in your country, please notify the prison location.

A guide for visitors on how to access, set up and receive Zoom video calls is available.

In-person personal visits

In-person visits have resumed.

Procedures are in place to help reduce the risk of COVID-19.

We ask all people spending time at our facilities follow these rules, because keeping everyone safe is our top priority.

If you are not able to meet our requirements, you will not be able to enter the prison or may have your visit terminated. Video visits are available to you.

Vaccination requirements for prisoners

All prisoners in Victorian prisons are strongly encouraged and supported to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are available at every prison and will continue to be provided for as long as they are needed.

To access a visit, prisoners must have received:

  • at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and
  • a third dose (if they had their second dose more than six months ago).

Prisoners are eligible for their third dose three months after they had their second dose.

Visits are still available to prisoners who cannot meet these requirements, such as those with medical exemptions. For the safety of prisoners and their visitors, these visits will be box visits.

Before you visit

In-person visits are restricted to one hour to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Visitors to Victorian prisoners need to meet vaccine requirements. These requirements can change depending on your age.

Visitor age Requirement
16+ At least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine

and

A third dose where they had their second dose more than six months ago.
12-16 At least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
5-12 At least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (this requirement will increase to two doses from 10 July 2022).
Under 5 No requirement.

All adult visitors (16 years and older) must be listed on the prisoner’s visitor list. You will need to provide 100 points of identification

All visits must be booked in advance through the prison’s booking system. Book your visit by contacting the prison.

The number of people that can visit a prisoner at one time may change as each prison responds to COVIDSafe requirements. 

Medical exemptions

Visitors with medical exemptions can access visits. For the safety of prisoners, these visits will be box visits, except where the visitor is a child under the age of 16.

If you have a medical exemption you must contact the prison before you visit. Proof of your medical exemption must be provided to the prison before your visit.

Proof of vaccination

The following ways of proving your vaccination status are acceptable:

  • certificate on your Service Vic QR Code app
  • certificate downloaded from myGov to your smartphone
  • printed copy of your immunisation history statement showing your COVID-19 vaccinations. Use this document to also show your vaccination exemption.

At the prison

You may find that visitor processing and waiting times now take longer due to the COVIDSafe measures. We thank you for your cooperation as prison staff work to maintain a safe environment.

Visitor screening

When you arrive at the prison, you will be required to:

  • show proof of vaccination for all visitors who are 5 years and older
  • undertake a rapid antigen test (children under 3 are exempted)
  • answer a set of questions to screen for your possible contact with COVID-19
  • wear the face mask provided by the prison at all times.

Visitors who refuse to follow the visitor screening process or have COVID-19 symptoms  when they arrive at the prison will be refused entry.

Rapid antigen testing

Rapid antigen testing involves using a small cotton bud to take a swab from inside your nostrils.

You will be asked to use the cotton bud to take your own swab. Parents will need to take the swab from their children. Trained staff will be there to help and supervise.

The swab is tested for any presence of COVID-19. Results will be visible within 15 to 20 minutes. 

Your results may be:

  • negative
  • inconclusive or invalid
  • positive

A negative test result means you can attend their visit.

An inconclusive test result means you will need to take another antigen test.

A positive test result means you will not be allowed to attend your visit and will have to leave the prison. You will be considered a probable case of COVID-19. This means you will need to follow the Department of Health guidance for positive cases, including any reporting and isolation requirements.

More information on rapid antigen testing and what to do if you receive a positive result is available on coronavirus.vic.gov.au (External link)

Face masks

All visitors aged eight years and older need to wear the face mask supplied by the prison. Children under eight don’t need to wear a face mask, but are encouraged to.

If you are exempt from wearing a face mask you will need to provide proof in writing before your visit. You will need to receive from the prison confirmation that your proof has been accepted before you arrive at the prison.

Hygiene and physical distancing

Infection control processes such as the use of hand sanitiser and physical distancing will be enforced.

Visitors are asked to practice good hygiene and encouraged to:

  • maintain 1.5 metres between themselves and other people
  • use hand sanitiser, especially after coughing or sneezing
  • practice good cough/sneeze etiquette by coughing/sneezing into your elbow
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Physical contact

Visitors and prisoners are asked not to touch each other. A fist or elbow bump to say hello and goodbye is allowed, but no further physical contact during the visit should occur.

Child toys and play equipment

Play equipment, toys and books will be available depending on the health advice at the time of the visit.

Canteen closure

Visit centre canteens and vending machines will not be available.

Cleaning and disinfecting

Before and after each visit, cleaning and disinfecting will be undertaken on frequently touched surfaces and any surfaces touched during the visit, including chairs and tables. 

Disinfectant wipes will be readily available for visitors as needed.

Visit termination

All visitors and prisoners must follow the COVIDSafe measures in place at each prison.

If a visitor or prisoner does not follow the measures or refuses to comply, the visit may be ended.

Inappropriate, disrespectful and abusive behaviour will not be tolerated. Any visitor whose behaviour risks prison security or the safety of prisoners, staff or other visitors, may be banned from visiting for a period of time as determined by the General Manager.

Legal and professional visitors

The transmission reduction measures for in-person visits also apply to legal and professional visitors, including screening questions, PPE, hand hygiene and physical distancing. See our information on professional visits for more.

Email a Prisoner service

Email a Prisoner is available to the family and friends of prisoners at all Victorian prisons.

You will need to know the location of the prisoner you want to email. You can find their location by writing to them at:

[Prisoner’s first name and surname]
c/- Corrections Victoria
GPO Box 123
Melbourne VICTORIA 3001
AUSTRALIA

Corrections Victoria can only disclose a prisoner’s location to a person who is already on the prisoner’s visitors list. You can check if your name is on the visitors list by phoning 1300 191 835.

Setting up to use the Email a Prisoner service

The steps below provide instructions on how to use Email a Prisoner:

  1. Go to www.emailaprisoner.com.au (External link)
  2. Select the button “sign up”
  3. Follow the instructions on the site.

Emails will be provided to the prisoner within two business days.

Cost

It is cheaper to email a prisoner than to send a letter. Sending a letter costs $1.10. However, if you want to attach a photo too, it is cheaper to send through the postal mail.

  • Send an email: $0.95
  • Request a reply: $0.75
  • Attach a photo: $0.65

Property for prisoners 

Prisoners can have property posted to them or dropped off at the prison.

Some items are not permitted or are controlled in prisons. Contact the prison to check that your property is allowed.

Please add your return address on the package when posting property. This is so it can be sent back to you if the package is returned.

The type and number of items that you are allowed to provide a prisoner varies from prison to prison. You can check the approval process and what items are allowed at each prison by going to the prison's webpage and looking under the ‘Property and money’ heading.

Corrections Victoria provides all prisoners with appropriate clothing and basic toiletries to ease the burden on families.

Prohibited items

A list of other prohibited items that cannot be take into prisons is available.

Sending money

When in-person visits are available money can be dropped off at prisons. You must be on the prisoner’s visitors list to be able to send money.

To send money to prisoners, you can:

When sending a money order or a bank cheque to the prison, you must:

  1. write the prisoner’s full name and CRN (if known) on the front of the envelope
  2. write your own full name and address on the back of the envelope.

Prisoners can receive up to $140 per calendar month. Some prisoners may be eligible for an additional $50 per calendar month for phone calls.

Funds will be available to the prisoner on the following business day.

Cost

Currently, SPS is the most cost-effective way for family and friends (depositors) to transfer funds. Each transfer incurs a 3% processing fee, a 0.77% card payment fee and a processing fee of $0.94.

For example, a $10 transaction would incur an additional fee of $1.32 (total transaction cost for the depositor of $11.32). In comparison a money order would cost a total of $12.10.

Bans and previous imprisonment or community correction order

If you have previously been banned from visiting a Victorian prison, or have a Corrections Reference Number (CRN)/Person Identification (PID), you may not be permitted to visit, even if a prisoner has added you to their in-person/video visits list.

If you would like to visit with a prisoner, you must seek written permission from the prison's general manager and provide the following information:

  1. CRN/PID (if known) or your offences
  2. full name
  3. date of birth
  4. current residential address
  5. name of the prisoner you wish to visit
  6. reason/s you want permission to visit (such as your relationship with the prisoner)

The general manager will review your request and advise you of their decision.

You will have a CRN/PID if you have served a term of imprisonment in Victoria (sentenced or remanded) or have been subject to a Community Correction Order imposed by the court.

Assistance for visitors

The Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (VACRO) can help you or the prisoner you are visiting with family and welfare matters. Go to the VACRO website for information (External link).