Q: I am due in court next month and the way things are looking I am worried that I may end up going to prison. As I’ve never been in a prison before I don’t know what to expect. I’m especially worried about the effects it will have on my children. Will they be able to visit me in prison? And if they can visit me will they have to go through things like being searched? What will happen if they get upset or bored, will it mean my partner will have to cut short the visit?
A: You don’t need to worry about losing contact with your children as they will be able to visit you. The only time they would not be allowed to visit is if you are deemed to present a potential risk to them.
When they visit they will have to stay with the adult that brings them at all times and they must be kept under control. Babies and young children do not normally need to be named on the Visiting Order, nor do they need independent identification, but you should get this confirmed by the individual prison. Pushchairs and carry cots are normally not allowed inside the prison.
All visitors, even babies, are subject to search. Children and female visitors will usually receive just a ‘rub down’ by a female prison officer. If one of your children is a baby, most prisons will allow you to hold him or her. It would be advisable for there to be two visiting adults if the children are very young, so that one of them can take the children out of the Visit Room if they become bored or fractious.
Emma Simoes is a Partner and Joint Head of our Criminal & Prison Law team and is based in our Wrexham office