Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

In-person personal visits are due to resume at all Victorian prisons from Friday 11 December 2020. They will resume in line with health advice. 

Prisoners and their families and friends can still use postal mail, video calls, phone and emails to stay in contact. 

If you have any urgent concerns – please contact the relevant prison or call 03 8684 6600.

Personal contact with a prisoner

If your friend or family member is in prison you can have contact with them in these ways:

  1. postal mail
  2. phone calls
  3. video visits
  4. in-person personal visits
  5. email

In many cases, you will need to know which prison they are in. To locate a prisoner within the prison system you can contact them by writing to the below address. 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 03 8684 6600. 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

While in-person visits will recommence from 11 December 2020, video visits will continue to operate and will remain a visit option for prisoners. 

The continued availability of video visits remains an important option for prisoners accommodated in designated COVID-19 units (e.g. protective quarantine, isolation etc) who will not be permitted to take part in the in-person visit program, as well as for prisoners whose family/friends may not be in a position 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.

Organising a video visit is different at each prison. Prisons are using either Zoom or BlueJeans.

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.

Zoom

Video visits using Zoom have been implemented at the following prisons:

  • 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
  • Port Phillip Prison
  • Tarrengower Prison

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

BlueJeans

Video based visits using BlueJeans have been implemented at the following prisons:

  • Fulham Correctional Centre
  • Ravenhall Correctional Centre

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

Help to use video visits

The Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (VACRO) is providing technical support to visitors who need assistance in setting up software for video visits.

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

An interpreter service is also available.

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

In-person personal visits

From 11 December 2020, Corrections Victoria is due to recommence in-person personal visits, in line with health advice. Visits will be strictly conducted in accordance with coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission reduction measures.

The safety of prisoners, staff and visitors remains the primary priority for Corrections Victoria. In-person visit procedures have been adjusted to embed coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission reduction measures and maintain personal safety.  

What you need to know before your visit

A maximum of 2 people (including children) will be permitted to visit a prisoner at one time. This means that 2 adults, or 1 adult and 1 child, can attend a visit with a prisoner. 

All visits must be booked in advance through the prison’s booking system. 

Adult visitors (16 years and older) must be listed on the prisoner’s visitors list and will be required to present 100 points of identification.  

Any visitor who does not comply with directives associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission reduction measures will not be permitted to enter the prison and will have their visit terminated.  

Visitor screening  

When you arrive at the prison, you will be required to consent to a temperature check and will be asked a set of questions to screen for your possible contact with coronavirus (COVID-19). 

If you record a temperature of 37.5C or higher, or, present any risk through the screening questions, you will not be permitted to enter the prison. If you are displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) you will not be permitted to enter the prison and you will be asked to return home and be tested.

COVIDSafe visiting measures

You may find that visitor processing and waiting times increase in order for the prison to safely facilitate physical distancing, staggered movements into and out of the visit centre, and infection control processes such as cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces. 

Your cooperation and patience in allowing prison staff to maintain a safe environment is appreciated. 

Contact tracing

To ensure adequate contact tracing, all visitors will be required to confirm their first name, surname, date of birth and contact phone number, which will be recorded by the prison. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

All visitors over the age of 12 will be required to wear a surgical mask (supplied by the prison). 

For people who are exempt from wearing a face mask, a medical exemption will need to be provided in writing prior to the visit. 

Hygiene practices and physical distancing

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

Visitors will be encouraged to practice good hygiene practices before, during and after in-person visits, and to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves and other people. 

As a visitor, you will be particularly encouraged to: 

  • practice frequent hand hygiene, 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 will be permitted to fist bump or elbow bump at the start and end of their visit. 

Outside of this hello and goodbye greeting, prisoners and visitors should maintain physical distancing for the duration of the visit. 

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. 

Child resources and play equipment

Toys, books and play equipment will not be available to children at this time in order to limit touch points and movement within the visit centre.

Canteen closure

Visit centre canteens and vending machines will not be available at this time. 

Visit termination

All visitors and prisoners must comply with transmission reduction measures in place at each prison. 

In the event that a visitor or prisoner breaches these measures or refuses to comply, the visit can be terminated immediately. 

Inappropriate, disrespectful and abusive behaviour will not be tolerated, and any visitor demonstrating behaviour that would jeopardise 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. 

Smoking

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.

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

Or by phoning (03) 8684 6600.

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: $0.90
  • Request a reply: $0.75
  • Attach a photo: $0.65

Property for prisoners during coronavirus restrictions

From 11 December 2020 onwards, in line with the return of personal visits, visitors can drop off property at a prison if they have a visit booked on that day.  

Alternatively, property can be posted to the prison. When posting property, you must write your full name and address on the envelope or package so that staff can verify the identity of the sender.   

The prison will only accept property provided by a person who is listed on the prisoner’s valid visitors list.

The type and amount of items that you are allowed to provide a prisoner varies from prison to prison. You can check the items allowed by a specific prison by going to the prisons page and looking under the ‘Property and money’ heading.

Corrections Victoria will provide 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

Money for prisoners can no longer 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 their website for information (External link).