Visiting prisons or detention centre

All in-person prison and detention centre visits are currently suspended until further notice.

Prisoner assessment

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If a friend or loved one is in custody, you may be concerned about what will happen to them.

Most male offenders will be remanded at Hakea Prison and female offenders will be remanded at Melaleuca Women’s Prison. Regional offenders will be assessed at the prison closest to them.

After sentencing, regardless of the crime they have committed, they are required to be assessed so staff can work out what their security rating should be, if they have any health issues and what work, education or rehabilitation programs would be helpful for them. Prisoners serving a sentence longer than 6 months will receive a more in-depth assessment which includes developing an Individual Management Plan for them.

The security classification of a prisoner is the biggest deciding factor in where he or she will serve their sentence. Other factors include how close a facility is for family and friends to visit, health needs and program availability.

The system is designed to reward good behaviour and sanction poor behaviour and unwillingness to address offending. Many prisoners will not progress through the security classification system (ie they will not automatically progress from maximum to minimum security.) The classification is based on a number of factors including the prisoner's behaviour, offence type and history and their participation in programs available within the prison system.

Prisoner transport

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Safe and secure prisoner transport is a key priority for the Department of Justice. The Department has high standards of care in place to ensure the safety, security and welfare of people in custody, while they are being transported.

There are around 36,000 movements of people in custody every year via air, coach and secure vehicle throughout the state of Western Australia

The terrain travelled varies significantly from Wyndham in the north to Albany in the south and includes extreme climatic conditions. 

Visiting prisons

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Visitors are welcome at all Western Australian (WA) prisons.  Family and friends are encouraged to maintain contact with prisoners throughout their sentence. Visits are an important link in preparing prisoners for their life in the community when they are released.

Some people feel anxious or overwhelmed about their first visit to a prison. The following is designed to prepare you for visiting a prison and aims to make your experience as pleasant and positive as possible.

Here is a list of what to expect when entering a prison:

  • All prisons have a Code of Conduct reinforcing what behaviour is expected of prisoners and visitors during their visit. 
  • Please note there is a dress standard for visitors entering a prison.  You may not be allowed to enter the prison if your are not dressed appropriately. 
  • You will need to produce identification to be allowed into a prison.  See Frequently Asked Questions below for what types of identification you need.
  • Video cameras operate in all prisons and you will be filmed during your prison visit.
  • All visitors, including babies and children entering a prison may be required to undergo a search.
    • There are a number of different searching methods we use on our staff and visitors entering a prison, these include the use of: Drug Detection Dogs (these dogs are 'passive' dogs that are trained to detect an illicit substance), electronic equipment (such as metal detectors and drug particle detectors), pat-down searches and strip searches.
  • Any person caught trying to bring a banned substance or item (refer to Frequently Asked Questions below) into a prison may be charged by police and may be refused entry on future visits to all prisons across Western Australia.

Visiting hours

Visiting hours at prisons vary depending on whether the prisoner is remanded or sentenced, and appointments should be made up to 24 hours in advance, where possible. Visit the individual prison page for visiting details.

Support for visitors

At all WA Metropolitan prisons and some regional prisons, there are additional family support services available for visitors. Family support centres are operated by independent, not-for-profit organisations to help offenders, their families, children and visitors get through the prisoner's sentence as best they can. Before visiting a prisoner at a prison with a family support centre, you must check-in at the centre first.

Family support centres are available 7-days-a-week at Bandyup Women's Prison, Casuarina Prison and Hakea Prison. Services are available at Karnet and Wooroloo prison farms on weekends and public holidays. To find out more, contact the individual prison.

Visiting - Frequently Asked Questions

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The most common frequently asked questions from visitors to Western Australian prisons.

What identification do I need to bring to make sure I can get into the prison?

You will need ID from the following lists:

Any 1 of the following primary documents:

  • valid passport (with photo)
  • valid driver's licence (with photo)
  • any identification card (with photo) issued by a government organisation

and

Any 3 of the following secondary documents (do not contain photos):

  • birth certificate
  • pension or other social security card or other entitlement card issued by a government department
  • driver's licence
  • employer/student card (with or without photo)
  • credit card, keycard or passbook issued by a financial institution
  • Medicare card
  • telephone, gas, or electricity account not more than six months old
  • water or local council rate notice not more than two years old
  • a signed letter from a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations that identifies the visitor by name and signature
  • a signed letter from a member of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisation that identifies the visitor by name and signature.

What can't I take into a prison?

The following items will not be permitted entry into a prison:

  • Drugs or any other contraband
  • personal carry bags, briefcases and the like
  • mobile telephones
  • sealed packages of any sort unless they have been authorised by the superintendent (or delegate) and the contents searched.

The designated superintendent may, for individual cases, override the provisions of this section.

Can I bring children when I visit a family member or friend in prison?

Yes, as long as they are supervised by a parent or guardian 18 years of age or older and no restrictions apply to the prisoner. Refer to Prison locations for details on how many children are allowed at one time.

What facilities are available for children when visiting prisons?

Children are to be under the control of an accompanying adult visitor at all times and may sit on the visitor's or prisoner's lap as long as no restrictions apply to the prisoner.

How long can I stay? How often can I visit?

Visiting hours at WA prisons vary, depending on whether the prisoner is remanded or sentenced, and appointments should be made up to 24 hours in advance, where possible. To find visit details for individual prisons, including how to get there, refer to Prison locations.

How many people can visit at one time?

All prisons have a maximum of 3 adults per visit rule.

What other options are available if I can't visit a family member or friend at the prison, ie remote, video conference, non-contact?

Video visits are available to prisons. It is the responsibility of the prisoner to apply for them.

Is there certain behaviour and a dress code that applies?

Yes. Please take note of the following rules:

  • visitor's dress standard is to be non-offensive and footwear must be worn
  • no smoking
  • children are to be under the control of an accompanying adult visitor at all times
  • except where the superintendent directs otherwise, children may sit on the visitors or prisoner's lap
  • a greeting and goodbye embrace and kiss is acceptable. Prisoners and visitors may hold hands during the course of the visit
  • other physical contact such as prolonged or frequent touching and kissing which is deemed to be inappropriate by prison staff will not be permitted and may result in termination of the visit
  • lewd, inappropriate or offensive behaviour will result in the termination of the visit
  • no documents are to be signed during visits without appropriate prison approval
  • no articles of any description, unless approved by prior arrangement, are to be passed between prisoners and visitors
  • at the completion of the visit, prisoners are to clean their respective tables or allocated area and put away any toys and books used by their children.

Am I allowed to bring food and drink inside a prison?

Where facilities are provided, only prisoners are allowed to get hot or cold drinks for themselves or their visitors. All food that isn't eaten during the visit has to be removed from the "visits facility" by the visitor.

Are there lockers available for my belongings?

Unauthorised items can be placed in the secure lockers provided in an area or location designated by the superintendent. Deposit boxes for the storage of mobile phones, briefcases and personal carry bags are available for all visitors, excluding social visitors, within the prison gatehouse or another area designated by the Superintendent.

Can I get banned from visiting a prison?

Offensive, inappropriate or improper behaviour by either prisoners or visitors will result in termination of the visit by prison staff. A visitor or prisoner may, for the security/discipline/good order of the prison, have a visit terminated.

Bans issued by a designated superintendent for any one or more of the following prescribed reasons, shall apply across all prisons (including Acacia) in the Western Australian prison system:

  • the person has attempted to take a weapon into a prison
  • the person has attempted to take an unauthorised item other than a weapon into a prison
  • the person has coerced or attempted to coerce a visitor to a prisoner to contravene s 50(1) of the Prisons Act 1981
  • the person is the subject of a charge relating to or has been convicted of an offence under the following provisions:
    1. ss 50(1), 50(2), 50(3), 52(4) of the Prisons Act 1981
    2. s 145 of the Criminal Code act Compilation Act 1913.

Can I take a gift at Christmas time or for a birthday?

No however, a cash amount approved by the prison may be deposited into the prisoner's account.

Are conjugal visits allowed?

WA prisons do not allow conjugal visits.

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Meet Tracey

Tracey is the Acting Clinical Nurse Manager at Banksia Hill Detention Centre.
Page reviewed 31 August 2021