Visits quick reference guide



You can read all about the visits process below in detail but we have put together 7 quick points to remember before you attend. 

  • Try to arrive 20 minutes before the time of your visit. If you need to cancel or if you will be late, call ahead and let us know; we will do our best to accommodate changes.
  • HMP Forest Bank is a no-smoking site. No tobacco products or smoking equipment will be allowed on your visit.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You will require a £1 coin in order to use a locker. Unfortunately, staff will not be able to issue change. Personal items are left at your own risk. HMP Forest Bank/Sodexo will not accept liability for items lost or stolen on site.

Identification required for a visit


Identification required for a visit

As of Tuesday 6 April 2021, the forms of ID that social and official visitors need to provide to enter a prison have been updated.

These requirements have changed to make visits safe and secure for everyone.

Social visitors have the option to present one photographic ID document from List A:

  • Passports
  • Identity cards from an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country
  • UK photocard driving licences
  • EU or EEA driving licences
  • NI Electoral identity cards
  • US passport card
  • Proof of age card recognised under PASS with a unique reference number (This includes the Citizen ID card)
  • Armed forces identity card
  • UK biometric residence permit (BRP

Should you be unable to present an ID document from List A, you may present one ID document from List B, supported by one document from List C:

List B:

  • Home Office travel document (convention travel document, stateless person’s document, one-way document or certificate of travel)
  • Older person’s bus pass
  • Freedom Pass
  • Proof of age card recognised under the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) without a unique reference number (please refer to List A where a unique reference number is present)

List C:

  • Birth or adoption certificate
  • Education certificate from a regulated and recognised educational institution (such as an NVQ, SQA, GCSE, A level or degree certificate)
  • Rental or purchase agreement for a residential property (signed and dated)
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Bank, building society or credit union current account card (on which the claimed identity is shown)


What to expect when visiting the prison


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

  • They’ll ask for your namecheck 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 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.

Financial Support for visiting a prison


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.



How we collect your data



In order to facilitate your visit to one of our prisons and to ensure that we deliver appropriate levels of security and safety and prevent crime, for identification purposes we shall collect your name, date of birth, address, a biometric template of your fingerprint and a photograph. A series of reference points from a finger print are collected, allowing a unique identification pattern. We do not collect or hold actual fingerprints.

Our prisons operate CCTV and staff may wear Body Worn Video Recording Equipment. We do not collect biometric readings or photographs of children under 16, however with the use of CCTV, images may routinely be captured.



We will only share your information with a third party where there is a legal obligation to do so.



You have legal rights in connection with personal information. Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:

Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.


Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.


Request erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing.


Object to processing of your personal information by us or on our behalf in certain situations.


Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.



We keep personal data in accordance with our clients’ and Sodexo’s retention procedures. These retention periods depend on the nature of the information (e.g. we apply different retention periods to different type of information such as CCTV and your visitor record), and may be subject to change.




To exercise your rights, you can contact us by writing to us at the following address: dataprotection.ukandie@sodexo.com or email the Global Data Protection Office at the following email address: dpo.group@sodexo.com stating your surname, first name and the reason for your request. We will most likely ask you for additional information in order to identify you and to enable us to deal with your request


You also have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office and file a complaint. (https://ico.org.uk/concerns/)