Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

All personal visits to adult prisons are suspended from Saturday 21 March 2020.

While personal visits are suspended, prisoners will have increased access to phone calls. Prisoners and visitors are also encouraged to write letters. 

Personal visits will resume on advice from health authorities, and we will keep prisoners and visitors updated. 

Video-based visits have been implemented in all public and private prisons. Information is provided below to assist visitors to access, set up and receive video calls from prisoners, if they are on the prisoner’s approved visitor list.

Please see Our response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) page for more information. 

The latest on Coronarvirus (COVID-19) is available on the Department of Health and Human Services website (External link).

If you are planning to visit a prisoner:

  1. Contact the prison before you visit. If you don't know where a prisoner is located, refer to Arranging a visit.
  2. Make sure you are on the prisoner's visitors list (you cannot visit if you are not on the list). Refer to Arranging a visit.
  3. Have the correct form of identification ready to take with you when you visit.
  4. Refer to information on a  specific prison to find out what times you can visit and whether there are any particular rules for visitors.
  5. Only take property and money that is allowed.
  6. Do not take any prohibited items into a prison.

Professionals, including lawyers and police, may arrange with the prison for professional visits with prisoners.

All prison visitors are subject to prison regulations and orders. Disobeying prison orders is an offence and could result in a visitor being banned from entering a prison.

Video-based visits

Video-based visits have been implemented in all publicly and privately managed prisons.

Publicly-managed prisons – Skype and Zoom

Video-based visits using Skype and Zoom have been implemented as a temporary option in response to suspension of personal visits for prisoners at the following prison locations:

  • Barwon Prison
  • Beechworth Correctional Centre
  • Dame Phyllis Frost Centre
  • Dhurringile Prison
  • Hopkins Correctional Centre
  • Judy Lazarus Transition Centre
  • Langi Kal Kal Prison
  • Loddon Prison and Middleton Annexe
  • Marngoneet Correctional Centre and Karreenga Annexe
  • Melbourne Assessment Prison
  • Metropolitan Remand Centre
  • Tarrengower Prison

Information for prisons not listed here will be included as soon as it becomes available.

Instructions for visitors on how to access, set up and receive Skype and Zoom video calls are available.

Privately-managed Port Phillip - Skype and Zoom

Video-based visits using Skype and Zoom have been implemented as a temporary option in response to suspension of personal visits for prisoners at Port Phillip Prison.

Instructions for visitors on how to access, set up and receive Skype and Zoom video calls are available.

Privately-managed Ravenhall and Fulham – BlueJeans

Video-based visits using Skype have been implemented as a temporary option in response to suspension of personal visits for prisoners at Port Phillip Prison.

Instructions for visitors on how to access, set up and receive BlueJeans video calls are available.

Technical support for visitors

The Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (VACRO) is operating a technical advice and support hotline for visitors who need assistance setting up software for video-based visits.

The service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

An interpreter service is also available.

Please contact VACRO on (03) 9605 1980 or personalvideovisits@vacro.org.au (External link)

Smoke-free prisons 

By law, all prisons in Victoria are completely smoke-free. No one is permitted to smoke anywhere on prison property, including carparks and any other land surrounding the prison. Tobacco and tobacco smoking accessories such as pipes, lighters and matches are considered contraband.

While visitors to prisons are permitted to bring tobacco and tobacco smoking accessories onto prison property, they must leave them in a car or in a locker at the prison. They are not able to leave visits centres for a cigarette and return to the visit.

Visitor fact sheets are available at visit centres at all prisons.

Smoke free prisons provide a healthier and safer workplace for everybody, a safer prison system and a better quality of life for people who quit smoking.

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. VACRO (External link) has an office in Melbourne’s CBD and at the Melbourne Assessment Prison.

 

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