Social visits to prisons were suspended on 24 March 2020 and because of the suspension and our wider actions to tackle COVID, lives have been saved and the NHS has been protected from the impact of widespread local outbreaks.
In line with the National Framework for Prison Regimes and Services published on 2 June 2020, prisons have gradually been re-commencing social visits since 8 July 2020 with many sites already holding visiting sessions. More are scheduled to resume in the coming days and weeks.
Establishments are progressing at their own speed, taking full account of their specific local circumstances. We continue to work with individual prisons to adjust restrictions in response to local conditions which may include an outbreak of infection in the prison or community.
Where social visits have resumed, there are necessary measures in place to protect visitors, prisoners and staff from the risk of infection. They include compulsory face coverings for visitors, social distancing and enhanced cleaning regimes.
A temporary video call service to support prisoners maintaining contact with family and friends has also been introduced. This is intended for use whilst contact is limited.