You are entitled to one half-hour non-contact or box visit with your friends or family each week.  For a person to visit they need to be on your Approved Visitor list.  As soon as you are in prison you should put in a visit list with the names, addresses and birth dates of people who you would like to visit you (you can have up to 10 on the list). The prison can refuse to accept visits from anyone not on the list, even if they are friends or family.  Visitors need to bring 100 points of ID with them when visiting.  Not all government facilities count pieces of ID with the same points so it is best that visitors arrive with more than what they think is 100 points to be sure of being allowed in to the visit.

Visiting rules govern:

•    how many people can visit you
•    how long they can visit for
•    how the visit is supervised
•    whether the visits may be contact visits
•    what ID and other information visitors have to give the prison
•    what visitors can bring into the prison, and
•    for what reasons visits can be refused and the visitors asked to leave

If you are in a management or high security unit, then the rules for visiting will be much different than in the mainstream units.  For example, if you are charged with or convicted of a sex offense you will need special approval to have visits from children, and you will not be able to see other visitors in the same space as those with children visiting.

Visitor and phone list approval

The prison will screen those placed on your visitor and phone lists.  The prison will also call those on your phone list to check whether they wish to receive calls from a prisoner.  The prison will also re-check these lists randomly.  Your people may be called a number of times throughout the year by the prison to verify if they are still willing to approve your phone calls. Only people on your visitors list can bring property or money in for you.  There are also rules about what items may be brought in for you – each prison can supply information to your visitors about these rules.

Visitors with criminal histories

Visitors with criminal histories will usually have to request permission from the Prison Manager in writing if they want to be added to your visitor list.  This may be done by writing a letter to the Prison Manager (see below for contact details). Visitors should bring copies of any paperwork with them to the visit in case there is any information missing from the system at reception.  Prisons may also refuse or terminate a visit at any time if there are security concerns.

Visitor searches

Visitors may be subject to searches of themselves or their belongings (see fact sheet #3: Searches and seizures). The Prison Manager also has the power to direct a visitor to submit to a drug or alcohol test, and if they test positive they may be refused entry to the prison. Under the Victorian Prison Drug Strategy any visitor attempting to introduce drugs or drug paraphernalia into the prison will be banned from visiting the prison for a minimum of 12 months. If convicted of this offence the visitor may be permanently banned from entering any Victorian prison.

Professional visitors

Other people that may visit you without being added to your list are “professional visitors”.  These include legal representatives, including the Victoria Legal Aid Prison Advice Service and the Prisoners Legal Service Victoria, who are permitted to exchange legal documents with you.  Members of the police may also visit you, but you may refuse such a visit, or refuse to be interviewed.  You may also be visited by welfare and religious representatives.

Prison                                          Address                                                   Phone

Ararat Prison                                  Warack Road, Ararat                                    5352 0500
Barwon Prison                                1140 Bacchus Marsh Road, Lara                     5220 8222
Beechworth Correctional Ctr            494 Flat Rock Road, Beechworth                    5728 0055
Dame Phyllis Frost Centre                Riding-Boundary Road, Deer Park                    9217 8400
Dhurringile Prison                            Murchison Road, Murchison                           5824 8800
Fulham Correctional Centre              Hopkins Road, West Sale                              5142 3800
Judy Lazarus Transition Ctr               50 Adderley Street, West Melbourne             9320 7888
Langi Kal Kal Prison                          Western Highway, Trawalla                           5349 4900
Loddon Prison                                Matheson Street, Castlemaine                       5471 1211
Marngoneet Correctional Ctr            1170 Bacchus Marsh Road, Lara                      5282 0600
Melbourne Assessment Prison           317 Spencer Street, West Melbourne             9321 4111
Metropolitan Remand Centre            Middle Road, Truganina                                 9217 7777
Port Phillip Prison                            Cnr, Dohertys and Plamers Road, Laverton       9217 7200
Tarrengower Prison                        Cnr Baringhup and Nuggetty Road, Maldon       5479 8200

Further information

This fact sheet contains general information only and is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice. If you would like advice regarding a specific problem please contact one of the legal services listed in contacts or contact the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral Service on 9607 9311.

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