Visiting prisons or detention centre

Visitors are welcome at all WA correction facilities.

Select a prison or detention centre for information and how to book a visit:

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. See the Visitor Code of Conduct for further details.
  • Please note there is a dress standard for visitors entering a prison. You may not be allowed to enter the prison if you are not dressed appropriately. See Visitor Dress Standards for further details.
  • You will need to produce identification to be allowed into a prison. See Frequently Asked Questions below for further details.
  • 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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New visitors will be required to complete a Visitor Identification Form (DOCX), produce 100 points of ID and have their photograph taken to become a registered social visitor.

E-Visitors not attending the prison in person (due to living in a remote community, interstate or overseas) will be required to have section 1 of the Visitor Identification Form witnessed by a person authorised under Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005 and emailed to the prison prior to their E-Visit booking. Visitors are to ensure they have their 100 points of ID ready prior to the commencement of the E-Visit.
 
Registered visitors are not required to bring ID into the prison, however visitors should have photo ID readily available (ie in their locker) as they may be asked at any time to produce it. 

What can I take into a prison?

Visitors are only permitted to take the following items into the prison:

  • Locker key
  • Where a baby is attending: a dummy (pacifier), blanket and baby's bottle. The bottle can only be filled with a liquid for the baby's consumption during the visit (eg formula, water, milk).
  • Personal medication that is or may be required during the visit.

All other items are not permitted unless prior approval is obtained from the superintendent and the items are searched on arrival at the prison (this includes all documentation).

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 and 3 children 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?

E-Visits are available. Visitors must be registered as a social visitor to have an E-Visit. At some prisons due to the number of E-Visit facilities available, only the prisoner can apply for an E-Visit.

Is there certain behaviour and a dress code that applies?

Yes. Please see the Visitor Code of Conduct and Visitor Dress Standards, below.

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 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. See Sending money to prisoners on the relevant prison page.

Are conjugal visits allowed?

WA prisons do not allow conjugal visits.

Visitor Code of Conduct

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When participating in visits, visitors and prisoners need to maintain an acceptable standard of behaviour.

This ensures that everyone can enjoy the privilege of visits.

The following rules apply to all visits:

  1. visit staff will allocate an area of the visit’s facility for each prisoner and their visitors
  2. movement by visitors around the defined visits facility must be kept to a minimum
  3. visit staff will determine the allocation of any provided tables and chairs. Visits tables and chairs are not to be moved
  4. prisoners and visitors may sit on any chair at their allocated table
  5. a greeting and goodbye embrace and kiss are acceptable. Prisoners and visitors may hold hands during the course of the visit
  6. 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
  7. lewd, inappropriate or offensive behaviour will result in the termination of the visit
  8. abusive language or behaviour will result in the termination of the visit
  9. except where the Superintendent directs otherwise, children may sit on the visitor’s or prisoner's lap
  10. children are to be under the control of an accompanying adult visitor at all times
  11. visitors are to comply with the visitor dress standards
  12. smoking is not permitted
  13. no documents are to be signed during visits without appropriate prison approval
  14. no articles of any description, unless approved by prior arrangement, are to be passed between prisoners and visitors
  15. where facilities are provided, only prisoners are allowed to obtain hot or cold drinks for themselves or their visitors
  16. all non-consumed food items are to be removed from the visit’s facility by the visitor
  17. 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
  18. E-Visits will remain in the same room the call originated in, no movement around other areas
  19. Only approved and booked visitors are to participate in E-Visits, no additional persons are to interrupt the visit session.

Failure to comply with any of the above may result in the refusal of entry to the prison, termination of the visit, loss of contact and or E-Visits or a ban from the prison.

Visitor Dress Standards

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Minimum standards

Social visitors are expected to dress appropriately for the prison environment in order to preserve the good order and security of the prison and the safety of visitors. As a minimum, visitors into a prison must wear underwear and footwear. Pants and skirts/dresses should be no shorter than mid-thigh.

Inappropriate clothing

The following items, as examples, are regarded as inappropriate clothing for the prison visits environment:

  1. any clothing that contains offensive or suggestive logos, words or slogans
  2. sexually provocative tight clothing or clothing that exposes underwear, midriff area, genital areas or breasts including:
    • see-through, sheer, or mesh clothing (other than hosiery)
    • low cut tops
  3. badly deteriorating footwear
  4. clothes that are excessively torn, ripped or frayed
  5. underwear that is visible through clothing
  6. steel capped boots
  7. money belts or belts with compartments
  8. headwear including hats or beanies (except religious or cultural headwear)
  9. excessive jewellery
  10. swimsuits
  11. watches other than analog
  12. hi-visibility clothing (typically worn by contractors)
  13. motorcycle gang ‘colours’ or clothing with gang insignias.

The above list is not exhaustive. Any queries in relation to appropriate clothing should be discussed with the Security Manager of the facility.

Visitors who do not meet an appropriate standard of dress will be denied entry into visits or asked to rectify their standard of dress.

Exemptions

Exemptions may be permitted only for legitimate cultural, religious or medical reasons or at the discretion of the Security Manager.

Page reviewed 15 October 2021