Visiting the prison

Man accompanied by prison officer visiting prison


Send money to a resident

From 2nd November there will be some changes to the way we manage resident finances

From 2nd November there will be some changes to the way we manage residents finances.

Sending Money In
From 2nd November the best way to send money fast, free and safely to someone in prison is using your Visa, Mastercard or Maestro debit card.

It keeps everyone who works and lives there safe.

You need: • prisoner number • prisoner date of birth

Then send money online at

The Unilink payment system will be switched off on 31st October this was a MOJ decision to ensure consistency across English prisons. 

If you don’t have a bank account, pick up the leaflet ‘How to set up a basic bank account’ which can be found in the visitors centre. 

If you can’t go online, from 16th September, you can apply for an ‘exemption’ so you can keep posting money to your loved one in prison. Talk to staff or pick up an exemption request form.

So remember, from 2nd November, unless you have an ‘exemption’ from the governor, you can no longer send: • money by bank transfer • money by pre-paid debit card • cash, cheques or postal orders

Help keep our prisons safe by sending money to your loved ones by debit card

£900 account Limit
From 2nd November If you send in a payment to a loved one in prison and it takes their account over £900, it can’t be accepted any more.
This is to keep people safe who live and work there.
If your loved one already has over £900, it would be a good idea to help them transfer their funds to an external bank account. Staff can help you with this.


Visits opening times

Social & Legal Visits

Given the current Covid-19 restrictions we are operating on reduced hours visits times will be as follows.

Social visits

Tuesday to Friday

  • 9.00-10.00am
  • 10.45-11.45am
  • 2.00-3.00pm
  • 3.45-4.45pm

Booking information: Residents will be able to book a slot via their wing kiosk. 

Additional information: Please note all visitors must wear a mask except children under 11.

Legal visits are currently suspended until further notice



Key things to help you to have a smooth visiting experience

  • 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.


We need to confirm your identity in order to let you into the prison, here's what you'll need with you

Except for urgent visits approved by the Duty Manager, all visitors to residents must pre-book whether their visit is social or professional. All visitors must bring identification with them and be able to clearly identify themselves to be the person they are claiming to be. The following forms of identification are acceptable.

One of the following plus proof of address (utility bill, bank statement etc):

  • Valid passport; including foreign passports, where the photograph is still recognisable.
  • Valid driving licence – photo bearing;
  • Senior citizen public transport pass (photo bearing);
  • Annual public transport season ticket (photo bearing);
  • Employer’s I.D. card (must show name of visitor/employer’s name/photograph and signature);
  • Photo bearing disability car permit (issued by local authority);
  • European ID Card (photo bearing).

Two or more of the following:

  • Rail or bus pass with photograph;
  • Cheque book/credit/debit/store card with signature;
  • Young person’s proof of age card;
  • Trade Union or Student Union membership card;
  • Allowance book with address that matches VO;
  • Birth Certificate;
  • Marriage Certificate;
  • Bill/bank statement with address that matches VO issued within last 3 months
  • Rent books are considered to be a bill so cannot be used with bill/bank statement;
  • Old style driving licence;
  • Library Card with signature;
  • Plastic National Insurance Card;
  • Foreign Identity or Residence Card;
  • Rent Card – Plastic Type.

Staff are instructed to refuse entry to any visitors if they are not satisfied with the identity of the visitor.

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 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.


Information about how to get property to a man in custody

The resident’s property is to be booked in at the same time as the visit being booked, subject to entitlements.

Residents have a 28 day window from reception date in which property can be handed in (1 drop off only). If a resident does not receive visits, an application to have property sent via post must be completed with the Reception Senior Prison Custody Officer (SPCO). This is to be completed with sufficient time so that the application does not exceed the property cut-off date.

After a resident has had an item in his possession for 6 months he is then entitled to exchange it using the catalogue available on each unit. If an item has been damaged or no longer fits, or has been lost or stolen then he can apply to the Reception SPCO to exchange it using the appropriate form.

Property Entitlement:

  • 15 tops (vests, t-shirts, jumpers)
  • 1 jacket (no hood)
  • 9 bottoms
  • 3 shorts
  • 7 boxers
  • 7 socks
  • 7 vests
  • 3 pairs of footwear
  • 1 pair of slippers
  • 2 pairs of flip flops
  • 1 watch (not greater than £50 in value and not a copy or digital)
  • 10 CDs (originals)

No hoods, football or rugby emblems, yellow or camouflage clothing is allowed.  Any items that officers deem inappropriate with offensive material or logos or resembles staff uniform will not be accepted, this includes shirts with collars and trousers (excludes court clothes).

Residents who are enhanced will also be able to have:

  • 1 dressing gown
  • 2 sets of PJs
  • 1 rug (6’x 2’ only)
  • 1 board game
  • 10 extra CDs (originals)

Handing Out items on Visits

  • Requests for stored property/items to be handed out on visits must be submitted to reception staff only. Reception will consider the request and endorse the application with the outcome. Applications must state the date of the intended visit and the name and address of the visitor collecting the item. The item will be delivered to the visitors centre ready for collection.


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 three levels: 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.


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.



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.

Email a resident

Contacting a loved one in custody is easy and inexpensive using the website 'Email a Prisoner'

Email a Prisoner offers a quick, efficient, secure alternative method of communication for residents their families, friends, legal professionals and related organisations.

The website allows you to write an email, press 'send' and sit back in the knowledge the email will be delivered safely, securely & ready for delivery to the prison of your choice. Your message is printed inside the prison and will be included in the daily mail delivery. This costs 40p per message.

For any queries about the service, please contact Email a Prisoner directly.

Visits dress code

Rules to be aware of before your visit regarding suitable attire

Please be advised that you are requested to dress appropriately for your visit. Any item of clothing which may facilitate the concealment of unauthorised articles or be considered offensive may result in you being refused entry.

Please consider that you are entering a public visits hall where other families including small children are present. We ask that you apply a level of common sense and decency when choosing your outfit. Staff reserve the right to refuse you entrance if you are not dressed appropriately.

  • No see through, revealing clothing or crop tops which reveal the stomach.
  • No ripped jeans or damaged clothing.
  • Skirts, dresses and shorts must be no higher than just above the knee.
  • Women must ensure their top garment covers their cleavage.
  • No clothing bearing slogans that are deemed to be racist, insulting or derogatory.
  • No uniforms, (except children in school uniform and police officers on a legal visit).
  • No watches.
  • Jewellery is best kept to a minimum (earrings to be studs / small hoops only)
  • No knee length boots (over the knee)
  • No football slogan clothing.
  • No caps.
  • No sunglasses.
  • No paperwork or photographs to be handed over on a visit.
  • No work boots
  • No ponchos or capes

 Your cooperation is greatly appreciated in this matter. Failure to adhere to the policy may result in admittance being refused.

Family Days

Information about how we work to maintain relationships through family days

Family days are held as part of the strategic plan for helping to reduce reoffending by supporting the Ministry of Justice’s Supporting Families and Creating Better Futures Framework. The relaxed atmosphere and structure of these days allows the resident to interact with his children allowing them to take part in activities that encourage learning and development assisting with the parent/child bond.

There will be at least 4 family days per year.

Residents can apply by using an application form, and must be authorised by their Unit Manager, Security, and the Visit SPCO. Only immediate family can be invited.
Successful applicants will receive a letter from visits.  A letter will also be sent out to the resident’s partner.

Aggressive or abusive behaviour towards staff will not be tolerated. This behaviour can result in visitors being banned and the matter being referred to the police.

How we collect and use 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.

If you have any questions or concerns about how long we retain your personal data, please contact the Data Protection Officer using the details below.


To exercise your rights, you can contact us by writing to us at the following address: or email the Global Data Protection Office at the following email address: 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. (


HMP Forest Bank
Agecroft Road
M27 8FB

Tel: 0161 925 7000

Changes to Resident Finances