COVID-19: Important information for visitors to our prisons

Domestic visitors

From 26 September 2020, DCS will recommence domestic visits at all prisons.

Visitors will be able to make bookings from Monday 21 September 2020.

All visitors and prisoners are required to comply with social distancing guidelines.

We will continue to provide virtual (video) visits as part of the new visits schedule.

The department is continuously monitoring the situation and will continue to follow the advice of SA Health as the lead agency. Visit information may change at any time if an increased risk of COVID-19 is identified.

Who does this apply to?

This applies to all domestic visitors:

  • Family and friends​.

When will visits resume?

Domestic visits will recommence from Saturday 26 September 2020. The first day of visits may vary from site to site.

The number of visit sessions available may also vary from site to site based on the size of the visit space.

How can I make a domestic booking?

Bookings for face to face visits will open from Monday 21 September 2020.

Visits can be booked during normal visit booking times by contacting the prison directly by telephone. ​

Please visit the prison locations page and select the prison where you would like to book the visit.

What safety measures apply to visits?

The following arrangements will apply to face to face visits including:

  • A limit of one adult visitor (plus children) per prisoner
  • Prisoner and visitor must sit at least 1.5 metres apart
  • Maximum of 45 minutes.

Will social distancing rules apply to domestic visits?

Yes, in line with SA Health advice social distancing will be enforced.

This will mean limited physical contact and prisoner and visitor must sit at least 1.5 metres apart. This condition is for your safety and the health and wellbeing of everyone.

A strong and continuous regime of cleaning will be maintained in all prisons with a focus on high-traffic areas including points of entry and visitor rooms.

Why am I being asked about my health and recent travel?

To minimise the risk of COVID-19 entering our prisons, we will be screening visitors before they are allowed entry to the visits room.

This means you may be asked about your health and any travel that you have done recently. You may have your temperature tested with a thermal detection camera and be refused entry if it is above normal levels.

You will also be required to sanitise your hands before entering the visits area.
These measures are to identify any potential risks and to keep everyone safe.

Why are there limits to the number of people who can attend a visit?

To comply with social distancing guidelines means the number of visitors per prisoner will be restricted and gradually increase over time.

Can children attend a visit?

Yes, children of all ages can attend visiting sessions.

Those sites where playground facilities are available for children are still accessible during visits.

DCS recognises that family visits play an important part in prisoner rehabilitation. Please be assured we will try and manage child interactions in the most compassionate way, parents and/or guardians of children should consider that it may be a challenging and confusing environment for children if asked to comply with social distancing rules.

We are encouraging parents and/or guardians with children to consider whether video visits may continue to be the best option for children during this time.

Can I wear a mask to a visit?

No, masks are not permitted to be worn by visitors for security and screening purposes.

The current health advice is that masks are not recommended in prison domestic visits given the number of visits occurring, screening questions, thermal temperature testing and social distancing requirements in place.

If you feel it is necessary to wear a mask you may be asked to reconsider your desire to visit and opt for a video visit instead. The visit will not proceed if either the visitor or prisoner is presenting as unwell or is showing any cold or flu symptoms.

Why can’t I make a booking for this week?

Complying with social distancing guidelines means visits areas will not have the same capacity and we may not be able to accommodate every request for a face to face visit in the short term.

There will be equal opportunities for all prisoners to have a visit either face to face or virtual. Site based wait lists will be established if required to ensure available visit bookings are fairly shared amongst prisoners.

Will prisoners still have access to video visits?

We will continue to provide virtual (video) visits via Zoom as part of the new visit schedules.

We encourage visitors to continue to access video visits as their first choice to help minimise risk to everybody.

How do I make a video visit booking?

Video visits can be booked during normal visit booking times by contacting the prison directly by telephone. ​

Please visit the prison locations page and select the prison where you would like to book the visit.

See COVID-19: Video visits for domestic visitors for further information on video visits.

What are other ways I can contact a prisoner?

Prisoners have access to telephone facilities and are encouraged to stay in contact with family and friends.

You can also contact a prisoner by writing to them:

  • Prisoner name, ID number, and location if known
    Department for Correctional Services
    GPO Box 1747, Adelaide SA 5001

More information

See COVID-19: Family and Friends FAQs for answers to some of your DCS and COVID-19 questions.

For general information on COVID-19, see the SA Health website or phone the SA Health COVID Information Line on 1800 253 787.


Professional visitors

You are not allowed to visit any of our prisons if:

  • You are feeling unwell
  • You been overseas or crossed a border within Australia in the last 14 days, or been in contact with someone who has
  • You have any COVID-19 like symptoms such as a sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, or fatigue
  • You been advised to self-isolate or be tested for COVID-19
  • You been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results
  • You been in contact with a person suspected or confirmed of having COVID 19.

Who does this apply to?

This applies to all professional visitors:

  • Legal professionals
  • Service providers
  • Contractors.

Visitor conditions

Bookings for professional visits have been reduced by 50% with the following conditions:

  • 1 Adult visitor per prisoner
  • Prisoner and visitor must sit at least 1.5 metres apart
  • No personal contact (handshakes etc)
  • No sharing of equipment (pens and paper etc).

Why am I being asked about my health and recent travel?

To minimise the risk of COVID-19 entering our prisons, we will be screening all persons entering the site.

This means you may be asked about your health and any travel that you have done recently. You may have your temperature tested with a thermal detection camera and be refused entry if it is above normal levels.

You will also be required to sanitise your hands before entering.
These measures are to identify any potential risks and to keep everyone safe.

Can I wear a mask to a visit?

No, masks are not permitted to be worn by visitors for security and screening purposes.

The current health advice is that masks are not recommended given the number of visits occurring, screening questions, thermal temperature testing and social distancing requirements in place.

If you feel it is necessary to wear a mask you may be asked to reconsider your visit. The visit will not proceed if either the visitor or prisoner is presenting as unwell or is showing any cold or flu symptoms.

How else can I make contact?

You can also make contact with a prisoner by:

  • Phone links – please enquire with bookings staff
  • Writing to the prisoner c/o:
    • Prisoner name, ID number, and location if known
      Department for Correctional Services
      GPO Box 1747, Adelaide SA 5001

DCS is looking into alternative visit options including the use of video conferencing applications for professional visits.

When can I resume visits?

You can resume visiting after 14 days if:

  • You are well
  • You have not had contact with a person infected with COVID-19 within the last two weeks.

Why is this happening?

DCS has taken these steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering our prisons.

Prisoners have also been advised to take extra care with their personal hygiene and seek help if they feel unwell.

More information

For more information on COVID-19, see the SA Health website or phone the SA Health COVID Information Line on 1800 253 787.