||What to Expect on a Visit
Car parking is restricted to the Visitors’ Car Park only. Do not park your car in a place where it may be deemed a security threat.
On arrival at HMP Altcourse please go to the Visitors’ Centre for initial registration. Please try to arrive at least one hour 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 Visitors' Centre on your first visit you will need to produce acceptable form of identification. Plus your two letters.
Social visitors are not permitted to take hand baggage beyond the Visitors' Centre, and locker facilities are available for safe storage of such items. Please retain the key during your visit. At this point you will also be informed of the maximum amount of money (maximum of £30 per visit) that you may take into the prison for the purpose of purchasing light refreshments during your visit.
Once registered, your photograph and finger prints will be taken. All children will have their photograph taken and over 10 years of age will have their finger prints taken. You will be called forward to the Entry Building Visitors' Entrance for searching. All identification should be left in the locker in the outside visitors centre.
If you are bringing babies or small children into the prison and require a pram/stroller, we will provide one for your use during your visit.
All visitors to HMP Altcourse 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 Visitors' Centre and in the entrances to the prison. Exit searching will also take place following every visiting session.
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 and metal detection equipment, drug detection dogs and equipment, the use of CCTV surveillance equipment and the use of the Barringer Drug testing machine. Children under eleven 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.
Drug and explosive detection equipment will be deployed in the Visitor Entrance Search Area, supplemented by periodic use of passive drug detection ('sniffer') dogs.
The Visits Hall
Once searching has been completed, finger prints will be checked and all visitors will then move to the Visits Hall. On entering the visits hall fingerprints will be checked again and you will be directed to a pre-selected and numbered table.
Seating arrangements are designed as 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.
At the conclusion of the visiting session all visitors will remain seated until prisoners have left the visits hall and are accounted for prior to the visits hall being vacated. All visitors will have fingerprints checked again before leaving the visits hall.
The Visits Hall is designated a non-smoking area in the interests of public health. Signs to this effect will be prominently displayed. No tobacco products should be carried into visits by prisoners or visitors.