Visiting the prison

Man accompanied by prison officer visiting prison

The environment in which all visits are held is important and to ensure they are stress free experiences, every effort is made to explain procedures clearly and reasons for decisions clarified. While security is a major consideration in relation to visits a relaxed atmosphere prevails when the clearly specified rules of conduct and behaviour are observed by residents and their visitors.


  • HMP Forest Bank is a no-smoking site. No tobacco products or smoking equipment will be allowed on your visit.
  • Bring two forms of identification when visiting the prison. This should be one primary form of photographic I.D. such as a passport or driving licence, and another secondary form of I.D. as a proof of address, such as a recent utility bill or other official paperwork - this must be dated within the last 3 months.
  • Dress appropriately for entering the prison. HMP Forest Bank staff will use their discretion to uphold the mutual respect, safety and security of people in the establishment and may refuse entry to people who are dressed in a way that would put these principles at risk.
  • If you wish to bring property for the person you are visiting, the resident must book this at least 24 hours prior to your visit. Please be aware that the property desk closes at 16:30.
  • Children and babies may be searched as well as adults. This will be done in a professional and careful manner.

What to expect

Guidelines of what to expect when visiting Forest Bank prison.

Heading into the visits centre, you’ll be greeted by our colleagues on the front desk.

  • They’ll ask for your name, check your booking and look at your identification.
  • They will take your picture and fingerprint biometric for identification purposes.
    This is a requirement for all visitors to the prison.
  • All official visitors will be subject to a level ‘B’ rub down search prior to their visit.
  • All social visitors will be subject to a level ‘A’ rub down search prior to their visit. This includes before returning to the visits hall, and after using the amenities.
  • Visitors will be chosen at random to take an Ion scan.
    • A positive outcome will result in either a closed visit for all the visitors named on the visiting order, or an option to rebook the visit.
      Any visitors with security intelligence may be targeted.
  • Visitors will walk through a metal detector portal.
    • If there is an indication, the staff must be able to identify what is causing the indication.
    • If the item cannot be identified then the visit will be refused.
  • Visitors may at times be subject to a search by the police.
    • Refusal to be searched will result in no entry and any action the police wish to take. Any articles recovered may result in the police being called and prosecution of visitors.

Types of visit

Details about the social (friends and family), legal and official (residents who do not receive social visits) visits allowed at Forest Bank.

  • Social visits are for friends and family members of residents at HMP Forest Bank. Residents can book their own visits using technology available on the wing.
  • Legal visits are to be booked at least 24 hours before requested date and time either by fax (0161 925 7031) or e-mail ( so we can provide a confirmation letter and ensure that the visitor is from a legitimate company.
    • Telephone requests will be refused.
    • To bring in equipment such as laptops, at least 24 hours’ notice is required and authorisation must be granted by the Head of Security.
    • All other personal items, such as mobile phone and car keys, are to be left in a locker at the visits centre.
  • Official visits are for residents who do not receive social visits. Whether remand or convicted, all residents are entitled to receive official visits.

    These visitors are volunteers. If a person in custody wishes to receive official visits, they can contact a member of the Chaplaincy team who will then organise a visit. The visitor will then book in the normal way.

    No visiting order is required for these visits; a special order will be issued at the visits centre.

    Convicted residents are entitled to one official visit per week. There is no limit for those on remand.



At HMP Forest Bank, we deliver the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme, meaning that residents who work towards their own rehabilitation, behave well and help others will earn additional privileges.

This Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme has four levels: Entry, Basic, Standard and Enhanced, corresponding with the level of privileges a person has earned.

Such privileges include the amount of visits a person may receive while in custody. There are different entitlements for remand and convicted residents of HMP Forest Bank.



Rules related to basic, standard and enhanced regime visits.

If a resident is living under basic regime, he will be entitled to two visits for up to 60 minutes in length, every 28 days.

Those on standard regime may have one visit per week for up to 2 hours duration, one visit per week for up to 60 minutes if taken after 4:30pm, or one visit at a weekend for up to 60 minutes.

Residents on enhanced regime will receive one extra visit per month. This visit can last up to 60 minutes, and must be taken either between 2.30pm and 6.30pm (Tuesday to Friday) or between 1pm and 3.30pm at the weekend. This is in addition to their standard entitlement.


Remand visits

Guidance for those visiting residents who are remanded in custody at HMP Forest Bank.

Residents who are remanded in custody at HMP Forest Bank and on the basic regime may receive one visit each day for up to 30 minutes, or one visit per week for up to 90 minutes. Both of these options are to be taken before 4:30pm.

Those on standard and enhanced regimes may receive one visit each day for up to 30 minutes if taken before 4:30pm, one visit each day for up to 60 minutes if taken after 4:30pm, one visit per week for up to 2 hours if taken between 1pm and 4:30pm during the week, one weekly visit at the weekend for up to 60 minutes.


Assisted Prison Visits

If you visit a family member, partner or someone who doesn’t get other visitors you might be able to get help paying for travel to the prison, somewhere to stay overnight and meals.

To qualify for assisted help you must be receiving certain benefits or have a health certificate.

If you’re taking a child with you or someone to help you (for example because you’re disabled) you might also be able to get help paying for their visit.

For more information and to apply, please visit the website for the Assisted Prison Visits Scheme.

HMP Forest Bank
Agecroft Road
M27 8FB

Tel: 0161 925 7000