We hope you find the visits section of this web site helpful. The information has been made readily available in order to ensure that visitors arriving at HMP Oakwood are able to enjoy their visit, and gain the maximum benefit from it.
We realise that prisons can be intimidating for families, especially children and so we aim to ensure all visits are conducted in a professional but relaxed environment. We have trained staff to support you in this.
Security is a major consideration in relation to visits and you will experience the kinds of searching procedures you may have encountered at an airport, this will be done in a courteous and sensitive way.
If the rules of conduct and behaviour are observed by prisoners and their visitors then the visiting process will run smoothly and will be a positive experience for all.
FAMILIES & FRIENDS
At HMP Oakwood we understand the importance of helping a prisoner to strengthen his family ties with his family, friends and significant others. Lord Farmer describes these relationships as the ‘Golden Thread’ which run through our establishment.
We know that one type of visit does not suit everyone, so Oakwood offers different types of events on a regular basis to accommodate the differing needs of families and friends alongside the normal visits.
BOOKING A VISIT
At HMP Oakwood prisoners are given the opportunity to book their own visits through the Kiosk. Visits can be booked up to a maximum of 14 days in advance with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice.
The benefits of using the Kiosk:
– No more waiting for a Visiting Order to arrive in the post
– Visitors don’t have to spend time on a phone line trying to book a visit
– Quick and simple to use (with multi-language and symbols to aid those with reading difficulties)
– Touch screen technology
– Information protected by a fingerprint and password.
To help those that have busy lives and schedules HMP Oakwood offers visits seven days a week, at a variety of times to suit you.
Visitors must ensure that they arrive at least 30 minutes prior to their visit time. Any visitor that arrives after this cut off period will be at risk of being refused entry for their visit.
We encourage visitors who may arrive late to ring the Visitors’ Centre (+44(0)1902 799700) so we may be able to make allowances for you to still visit. We cannot guarantee the visit will go ahead but we will try to facilitate your needs.
Enhanced and Douglas – 8 hours
Standard and Basic- 6 hours
SOCIAL VISITS TIMETABLE
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SOCIAL VISITS 9:30- 11:30
SOCIAL VISITS 9:30- 11:30
Family events 10.30-16.00
16.15 – 17.15 32
16.15 – 18.15 32
16.015 – 18.15 5
16.15 – 17.15
16.15 – 17.30
16.15 – 17.30
Douglas can attend any session/ CSU can only attend on Beech/Cedar session.
PURPLE VISITS TIMETABLE
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No Purple Visits AM
Family events 10.30-16.00
All Purple visits sessions will have 11 spaces
Douglas can attend any session/ CSU can only attend on Beech/Cedar session.
RULES ON VISITS
To make your experience positive, we ask that everyone follows our rules on visits:
- Prisoners are required to wear an arm band during the visit.
- Prisoners and visitors will remain seated at all times when at the table.
- Once a visit has ended and both parties have left, the visit cannot restart.
- In the Large Visits Hall visitors must remain on the opposite side of the table to the prisoner.
- Prisoners’ and Visitors’ hands must remain in full view at all times.
- Any behaviour deemed to be inappropriate; including that of a sexual nature will not be tolerated.
- It is the parent’s / guardian’s responsibility to supervise children while visiting.
- Only prescription glasses (excluding prescription sunglasses) are allowed.
- Any visitor that is wearing unacceptable attire will be offered prison issue clothing so the visit can continue.
- All visitors under the age of 18 must be with an adult during a visit. Any visitor under the age of 18 who wishes to use the toilet must be accompanied with a parent or guardian.
Please follow the above rules during your visit to HMP Oakwood, anyone that fails to abide by this may have their visit terminated and the visitor may be refused entry on future visits.
IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR ADULT VISITORS
(over 18 years of age):
At HMP Oakwood all visitors are required to provide identification to gain entry. The visitor’s name, address and date of birth must match what the prisoner has provided on his visitors’ list.
In April 2021, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) introduced changes to the type of identification (ID) that you will need to provide when you go to visit a loved one in prison. These changes have been made to help make prison visits safer and more secure for everyone. The changes apply to adult visitors over the age of 16 years.
As in-person prison visits start to reopen, we explain what you need to know about the updated ID requirements. You can also download the official HMPPS poster to give you an overview of the changes.
What are the new ID rules?
You will still need to bring one or more forms of identification with you to all your prison visits.
If you have photographic identification (ID with your name and picture on – for example, a passport or driving licence) then you will only need to show this one form of ID.
If you do not have photographic identification, you will need to show two different forms of ID before you are allowed to visit.
What type of photographic ID can I use?
You can use any one of the following documents with your photograph on:
- Your passport.
- An identity card from a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country.
- A UK photocard driving licence.
- An Northern Ireland Electoral identity card.
- A United States passport card.
- A proof of age card recognised under the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) with a unique reference number. This includes the Citizen Card. Remember: Prisoners’ families can get a 50% discount on the cost of a Citizen Card by using the discount code ‘PACT’ when applying online.
- An Armed Forces identity card
- A UK biometric residence permit (BRP).
What if I don’t have photographic ID? Can I use something else?
If you aren’t able to provide one of the ID documents listed above, you will need to provide two different forms of ID.
One of these forms of ID must be:
- A Home Office travel document (convention travel document, stateless person’s document, one-way document or a certificate of travel).
- An older person’s bus pass.
- A Freedom Pass.
- Proof of age card recognised under the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) without a unique reference number.
In addition to one of the above documents, you will also need to provide one of the items from the following list:
- Your birth or adoption certificate.
- An education certificate from a regulated and recognised educational institution (such as an NVQ, SQA, GCSE, A Level or degree certificate)
- A rental or purchase agreement for a residential property (signed and dated).
- Your marriage or civil partnership certificate.
- A bank, building society or credit union current account card (which has your name on it).Any combination of the above documents should be accepted, but you will need one from the first list, and one from the second list.
Example 1: You could provide your Freedom Pass and your marriage certificate.
Example 2: You could provide your proof of age card and your building society current account card.I have two documents from the first list, can I use both of those instead?
Unfortunately not. You must have one document from the first list and one document from the second list. If you can’t provide both of these forms of ID, then you may be refused entry to the prison.What if I do not have the right ID? What if I don’t have any ID?
All visitors to a prison, including legal visitors, need to provide one or more forms of identification before they will be allowed into the prison.
In exceptional circumstances, if you do not have access to any of the ID listed above, you can ask permission to attend a visit in advance from the duty Governor at the prison. You will need to provide a reason why you don’t have appropriate ID. Each case will be reviewed individually.
If you need ID urgently, you could consider applying for a Citizen Card. An urgent application takes 1 – 2 working days and costs £30. You can also make an appointment to apply for same-day ID for a cost of £40. Standard applications cost £15 and take up to 21 days to process. Prisoners’ families can get a 50% discount on the cost of a Citizen Card by using the discount code ‘PACT’ when applying online.
IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR CHILD VISITORS
(under 18 years of age):
Children’s identification must be originals (not photocopies) and must be brought in on every visit as conditions of entry for all less than 18 years of age. Any child/ren, who visits without the appropriate Identification, will be refused entry as part of HMP Oakwood’s commitment to children protection and safeguarding.
The below ID and rules are required for each Child visitor (under 18 years of age) to gain entry to HMP Oakwood.
All children under 18 years of age are not allowed to visit unless one of the following applies:
- Child is visiting dad
- Child is visiting with mom or dad
- Child is visiting with a legal guardian (proof from the courts is required)
Under 6 weeks: Red Book or Birth Certificate
Red Book or Birth Certificate
Aged 0 to 9: Birth Certificate
Aged 10 to 17: Birth Certificate with one of the following: Passport, Medical Card, Travel Card, or Student ID Card
Birth Certificate with one of the following:
Passport, Medical Card, Travel Card, or Student ID Card
DRESS CODE & BEHAVIOR
The Visits facility at HMP Oakwood is a family focused area and as such visitors are expected to dress and behave accordingly.
THE VISITORS CENTRE (Family Pathway Centre)
The Visitors Centre (Family Pathway Centre) at HMP Oakwood is run by the Help & Advice Line for Offender’s Wives, Partners and Families (known as HALOW (Birmingham)) and is a Registered Charity (No: 1002675). The Charity was set up in 1985 to provide information, counselling and support to prisoners’ families and friends.
The Visitors Centre (Family Pathway Centre) offers the following services:
– Information, Guidance and Sign Posting service e.g. Housing, Finance, Alcohol and Substance Misuse, Domestic Violence etc.;
– Support and advice with prison procedures.
– Someone to talk to in confidence if you need support.
– Facilities to assist visitors e.g. having an on-site wheelchair available for disabled visitors and a multi faith prayer area.
– The chance to give feedback to help improve the experience.
When you arrive at the Visitors Centre (Family Pathway Centre), the staff will guide you through the booking-in procedure. All adult visitors will have their photograph and fingerprints taken on the biometrics system. We also offer the option for children who are visiting their father to have photographs taken. This will make future visits easier as you will not have to bring all your identification on every visit, just the first time you attend.
We provide Family Support and Children’s Work in the Visits Halls and on events.
A new charity, RESTART now runs from the Visitors Centre (Family Pathway Centre) and offers a variety of bespoke services for prisoners and their families. These include a mini-bus service, a foodbank, refreshments and additional family support.
STRENGTHENING OAKWOOD FAMILY TIES (S.O.F.T)
In addition to statutory visits, Oakwood takes great pride in offering an extensive range of visits to include children, family members and significant others.
As well as Child-Centred Family Days which take place in the school holidays, we offer days for Adults, Partners-only days, Red-Band Days and many more – giving as many opportunities as we can for prisoners and their families to spend both quality and quantity time together.
KIDS CLUB takes place on weekend mornings for those with children aged 17 and under. This gives everyone chance to play games, take part in crafts and enjoy some family time together. We offer Scouts for boys and girls aged 6-11 on Sunday AM visits.
Once a month we offer a Jolly Tots (Father Baby bonding) for those with babies and young children.
One of our wings houses a Family Intervention Unit. This unit is especially for any prisoner who wishes to strengthen his bond with his family. We request that anyone who wishes to live on the unit takes part in a parenting or Family Course. We deliver the Solihull Approach and The Nurturing Programme – which some of you may be familiar with as many Children Centres also deliver these.
The Family Unit has an extra visit on a Tuesday evening in the form of a Homework Club for children of all ages.
Oakwood recognises that some families need additional support whilst a loved one is in prison and so we offer a trained HALOW (Birmingham) Family Support Worker alongside information and drop-ins in the Family Pathway Centre and Community Hub.
Strengthening Oakwood’s Family Ties (SOFT) is open to suggestions from visitors about how we could improve our service. Once a quarter we hold an open forum in the Family Pathway Centre where visitors can speak to staff and Seniors to put forward ideas. Alternatively, if visitors cannot attend the forum, then thoughts can be added to the ‘Ideas’ box in the Centre.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON A VISIT
In accordance with national policy, prisoners and staff at HMP Oakwood are no longer allowed to smoke on the premises, or to bring any smoking materials into the prison. Please note it is an offence to convey smoking related items into the prison. Assistance with giving up smoking is being offered to prisoners in accordance with national guidelines.
You will be directed to report to the Family Pathway Centre for initial registration. Please try to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the starting time of your visit, to ensure that the entry searching process does not delay the start of your visit.
In the Family Pathway Centre you will need to provide acceptable forms of identification. Adult visitors will be enrolled via the biometrics system. Domestic Visitors are not permitted to take hand baggage beyond the Family Pathway Centre and locker facilities are available for safe storage of such items.
Please retain the key during your visit. Once registered, you will be called forward to the Entry Building Visitors’ Entrance for searching.
All visitors to HMP Oakwood are searched on entry to the prison. Consent to being searched is a precondition of entry into any G4S prison and notices to this effect can be seen displayed in the Family Pathway Centre and in the entrances to the prison.
Searching will be carried out with due regard for the dignity of the individual and his/her possessions.
Manual searching by staff will be supplemented by the use of x-ray, metal detection equipment, drug detection dogs and CCTV surveillance.
Children under eighteen years of age will always be searched by female members of staff.
Arrangements for the searching of infants will specifically require the parent or carer to observe the process.
Whilst we understand not everyone likes dogs, they are a necessary part of prison security. We understand it may be difficult but the trained dog handler will work with you to make it as easy as possible.
The Visits Hall
Once searching has been completed, adult visitors will then move to the Visits Hall. You will be directed to a pre-selected and numbered table.
Seating arrangements are designed to place prisoners in specific seats that are visually identifiable.
Prisoners will not be allowed to sit on seats other than those provided for their use. The same applies also to visitors.
Please be aware that CCTV is in operation in the Visits Hall.
Explicit sexual, indecent or other antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated and contravention of these rules may result in early termination of the visit and possible Social Services and or Police involvement.
At the conclusion of the visiting session, prisoners will remain in the Visits Hall until all their visitors have been accounted for and have left the building.
All prisoners need to be accounted for prior to any visitors leaving the Visitors Search Area.
FAMILY SUPPORT HELPLINE
HMP Oakwood operates a telephone support helpline for all queries and advice in regards to Visits; including the cancellation of any visits 01902 799776 or 01902 799980 (after 12 midday) or 01902 791426 (after 12 midday)
Please note visitors are unable to book a visit through this phone line.
The telephone helpline is available during the day and also accepts calls when staff are not there. It is a 24 hour service which families and friends can contact at any time. If calls are made during weekdays, staff are generally on hand to deal with queries and will answer calls personally. Out-of-hours, callers can leave their details and a member of the team will call them back as soon as they pick up the messages.
Safer Custody Team
Prisoners’ families and friends are an integral part in forming a safer prison and are encouraged to make suggestions about how the prison could better protect prisoners from victimisation. This also helps to provide information to help identify those prisoners likely to be at risk.
Should you have any concerns or issues you would like to raise then please contact the Safer Custody Team by either calling:
24 hour answer service: 01902 799 991
E-MAIL A PRISONER.COM
You now have the option to send correspondence by email directly from your computer to the prison that in turn will be printed off and given to the prisoner. Messages cost 40 pence each and are paid for by the prisoners’ family and friends.
It is quick, simple and easy to use. HMP Oakwood allows you the option to receive a reply from the prisoner for which there is an extra charge of 25 pence. Email a prisoner service was founded by an ex-prisoner who believes increased and varied communication plays a vital role in reducing re-offending and aids the rehabilitation processes.
How do I sign up?
Go to www.emailaprisoner.com, click on sign up then enter your name, your email address and your chosen password. Enter the code from the image shown, continue to read the terms and conditions and confirm that you agree with them – click on sign up. Once your account has been created and you are logged into your account you must complete three tasks:
– Click on my profile and add your address and save
– Click on add receipt and add your recipient’s details
– Click on buy credit and follow instructions
For more information on this service visit: www.emailaprisoner.com
PRISON VOICEMAIL SERVICE
Social contacts can now exchange voicemails with prisoners through the Prison Voicemail service, which is available at this establishment. Family members or friends sign up online and are given a unique landline phone number which they can call at any time to leave messages. The prisoner dials the same number from within the prison to listen and reply.
The service is used by over 5000 people to maintain contact across the HM Prison Service. In a recent survey of 81 prisoners, 96% said voicemails make them feel better.
– “It was heartbreaking each time I missed his call and was unable to call him back. Now with Prison Voicemail I am able to call him and leave a message and he can do the same. If there is an urgent message or I am feeling low I can call him and leave a message.”
– “I hadn’t been able to find a way for our children to speak to their dad for three years. After they left their first voicemail I actually broke down in tears. It just makes such a difference, I think the service is brilliant.”
– “The service is really helpful as it ensures family can communicate quickly and are able to initiate contact – really important as otherwise they are waiting for me to call them”
– “Since we found out about the service we have used it constantly. It has been absolutely brilliant for myself and wife to keep contact everyday between our main phone calls and visits. Thank you it has made my sentence a lot easier to deal with.”
How it works
– Sign up for an account at prisonvoicemail.com to get your voicemail number
– You can leave a message immediately via the app or by calling the voicemail number
– The prisoner will be informed of the account once it has been approved by the prison
– The prisoner dials the same voicemail number (a landline call rate) to listen and reply to your voicemails
– You get a notification when your voicemail has been heard, or when there is a reply waiting
Prison Voicemail also has an accompanying app for iOS and Android phones which makes sending, receiving, and re-listening to messages much easier, and includes the Live Calls feature which makes it possible for the approved contact to speak directly to the prisoner through the service.
To find out more information, including pricing, visit prisonvoicemail.com
ASSISTED PRISON VISIT SCHEME
To aid with the cost of visiting you may be eligible for help with travel expenses. The Assisted Prison Visits Scheme provides financial assistance to prisoners’ close relatives, partners or sole visitors who are in receipt of qualifying benefits or a low income when making qualifying visits to prisons. Assisted Prison Visits Scheme rules and conditions apply.
For an application pack telephone 0300 063 2100 between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays), or you can collect one from the Family Pathway Centre when you arrive for your visit.
The postal address is:
Assisted Prison Visits Unit
PO Box 2152
SENDING FUNDS TO PRISONERS
Here at Oakwood we have four options of sending money to our prisoners
Postal Order/Cheque – In order for a postal order/Cheque to be received by a prisoner this must be made payable to G4S care and Justice Services with a maximum limit of £250 per postal order and no limit for a cheque. Each postal order/cheque sent must include the senders name and address along with the prisoner’s name and number on the back of the postal order.
Secure Payments – This is the first online payment option available. If using this service the maximum limit is £50 per transaction and there is also a fee attached to sending this payment which can be found on www.secure-payment-services.com to sign up for using this service.
Direct.Gov – This is another option to send money to a prisoner online. This is a free service to use and to sign up for this please visit www.gov.uk/send-prisoner-money.
Please note HMP Oakwood is a cashless prison and due to this any money (cash) received will be returned back to the sender.
LEGAL & PROFESSIONAL VISITS
Legal/Official visits/video links take place Monday to Friday except Bank Holidays.
We run three sessions, the available times are:
8.45 – 9.45
9.45 – 10.45
10.45 – 11.45
All bookings should be made by e-mail on the HMP Oakwood booking form. To request a booking form please e-mail email@example.com. All bookings will be confirmed by e-mail. You should bring the confirmation e-mail with you to the prison; failure to do so may result in the visit not taking place.
Bookings must be made at least TWO working days in advance
HMP Oakwood has Video Conferencing facilities which can be accessed by prisoners’ legal advisors and other authorities upon request.