First Time Visit

Visiting someone in HMP Barlinnie?

Visiting prison can be difficult for anyone – particularly if you’ve never visited a prison at all before or have never visited a certain prison. The Croft is part of a network of Scottish Prison Visitors’ Centres, get in touch if you are visiting a different prison and we can let you know who to contact there.

Due to the different types of prisoners and their needs and the different styles of building, each prison in Scotland deals with visits in different ways. The Scottish Prison Service website has some information on visiting at other prisons.

Below are some things to think about before you come to HMP Barlinnie. You may also want to look at our FAQs, particularly about keeping in touch with someone in prison. Click on the links below to jump to each section.

Booking a Visit

This works differently for different types of visits.

There is a monthly timetable of visits, with 4 Remand and 3 Convicted visits each weekday and 2 of each at the weekends – you always have to book a visit in advance.

Agents’ Visits (e.g. lawyers, social workers) are drop-in Monday – Friday 8.30am – 3pm. Other agents, such as charities, need to have a Partnership Pack signed off by SPS and must book visits in advance. The Booking Number (Agents only) is 0141 770 2694.

Remand: can have a visit every week day and at the weekend with up to 3 adults and any number of children. The visitor books the visit via the Remand Booking Line 0141 770 2109 – you need to give 24 hours notice to book a visit and can book for visits a week in advance. The booking line is open Weekdays (9am – 1pm AND 2pm – 4pm) Monday & Thursday Evenings (4 – 8pm) Saturdays (9am – 1pm).

Convicted: have 4 visits per month with up to 3 adults and any number of children. The person in prison books the visit and a Visit Order is sent to you in the post.

Private Visits: if there is a birth or death, a private visit can sometimes be arranged. Contact the Family Contact Team on 0141 770 2037

More information is available on the Scottish Prison Services website

Additional Child Focused Visits

Aswell as attending regular Convicted or Remand visits, since 2015, HMP Barlinnie is able to offer additional child focused visits. These are all booked by the person in prison via the Family Contact Team.

Child Visit & Early Years Visits: these are extra visits that don’t count towards the weekly / monthly entitlement. The person in prison is able to interact more with the child or young person. Only one adult can come on this visit with the child / children.

Child Visits: 5.15 – 6pm (Cut-off time is 5pm) on weekdays for children aged up to 18 years old.

Early Years Visits: 2 hour visits on weekday mornings and afternoons for pre-school children.

What to Bring

The prison has set procedures on what you can and can’t bring to the visit.

Identification: you need to bring photographic ID and a recent official letter with your address on it.

The prison accepts the following for photographic ID:

  • Valid Passport
    – Photographic Driving Licence
    – Citizen/Validate UK Card
    – Senior Citizens Bus Pass

The prison accepts the following for proof of address provided it is less than 3 months old:

  • Utility bill
    – Council tax bill
    – Bank statement
    – Other letter from official source

You may be given up to 3 weeks to get photographic ID if this is your first ever visit. The Croft has a subsidised Citizen Card ID application form which they can send to you or you can pick up at the prison.

Money, Food & Lockers: you cannot bring any food or drink up to the visit, except baby food and some medicines – check with prison staff. There is a tea bar and vending machines in the Visits Room and you can bring up to £10 in change up with you to the visit, you will also need an additional pound coin to use a locker – this refunds when you return the key. Except for the £10 in change, everything, including any outside jackets needs to go in a locker. You can also pay money in at the Cash Desk in the prison foyer (Weekdays 9.30am – 11.45am & 12.45pm – 7.45pm, Weekends 9:30am – 12pm AND 1 – 4pm) – this can be for someone in any Scottish prison, as long as you know their Prisoner Number.

Clothes or other Items: if you’re bringing anything other than money for the prisoner this must be arranged in advance using the Proform system. See our FAQs section for more information.

Getting to HMP Barlinnie

Give yourself plenty of time to get to Barlinnie, usually you will not get in if you arrive after the “CUT-OFF TIME” noted on the Visits Timetable.

Public Transport

By Bus

First Bus number 38 / 38A / 38C stop near the prison (First Bus 38B & 38E do not go to HMP Barlinnie and there are other bus companies with number 38 buses which do not go to Barlinnie – check with the driver to be sure). There are stops at both Queen Street and Central Stations in Glasgow City Centre and you can pay with the First Group mobile app, contactless card or with the exact fare. You can check the timetable at the First Group website.

If you’re not sure exactly where HMP Barlinnie is, ask the bus driver for Riddrie library, then cross Cumbernauld Road at the pedestrian crossing and walk up Lee Avenue, between the shops and the school.

By Train

Please note there are no direct train services to Barlinnie.  The nearest stations are at Alexandra Parade and Carntyne, both at least 30 minutes walk from the prison.  You can phone National Rail Enquiries 03457 48 49 50 and plan your journey at the National Rail website.

By Car (G33 2QX)

From the east
When travelling east on the M8 take exit at junction 12 Stepps and Riddrie. At the traffic lights turn right onto Cumbernauld Road (A80).  After the library take the 1st left onto Teith Street, left onto Smithycroft Road, then first right onto Lee Avenue where the prison is located. 

From the west
When travelling west on the M8 exit at Junction 12, Stepps and turn left onto Cumbernauld Road (A80).  After the library take the 1st left onto Teith Street, left onto Smithycroft Road, then first right onto Lee Avenue where the prison is located.

Parking: Visitors can use the car park on the left as they come up the driveway to the prison.  If there are no spaces in this car park then visitors will need to park on Smithycroft Road. The car park on the right is a restricted car park but the exception to this is at the weekend or in the evenings. Any person parked illegally will be asked to move their car.  There are a limited number of disabled parking spaces available.  Disabled badges must be displayed. Visitors must not use the disabled parking bays unless they are displaying a current disabled parking permit/badge. 

At HMP Barlinnie

Support for Visitors in the Atrium (Foyer): Croft staff are available in the prison foyer and in the Waiting Area before most visits. If you want to arrange a support chat before or after your visit – this will be in the glass Pod on the left as you come in. The Pod also has books, magazines and colouring in – if it isn’t being used for an appointment, feel free to browse.

Where to sign in: go to the Visitors’ Booking Desk on the right in the entrance area, you will be asked who you are visiting, their Prisoner Number and to show your ID. You will be given a table number for the visit. 

Leaving things for the prisoner: let staff at the Visitors’ Booking Desk know if you have items to leave in for the prisoner – this must be arranged in advance. You can also pay money in at the Cash Desk in the prison foyer (Weekdays 9.30am – 11.45am & 12.45pm – 7.45pm, Weekends 9:30am – 12pm AND 1 – 4pm) – this can be for someone in any Scottish prison, as long as you know their Prisoner Number.

Lockers: You need to put any bags and coats or jackets with hoods in a locker before you go in to the Waiting Area. The ONLY things you can bring in are £10 in coins and some medications and/or some baby things – check this with prison staff.

The Waiting Area

Support for Visitors in the Waiting Area: Croft staff are usually in the Waiting Area before the visit – they all wear a purple and green badge and will often be at the back at the leaflet stand or speaking with another visitor. You can approach Croft staff to ask any questions you have about visiting and any additional support that you need both at the prison and in the community – we work with lots of different organisations who can help with money advice; telling children about prison; health; mental health and many others. Croft staff are also happy just to chat, we know that lots of people find coming to the prison really stressful and talking to someone can help to calm things and let you have a better visit with the person you’re here to see.

Toilets: the ONLY available toilets are in the Waiting Area, including an accessible toilet and baby changing area. If you need to leave your visit to use the toilet, you will not be let back in to the visit.

Going up to the Visit: after the CUT-OFF TIME a prison officer will come in to the Waiting Area and call visitors through by table number. If the visit is very busy, visitors may be called up in batches with doors closed behind each set of people – this is to ensure security.

Security / searches: You will then go through to the Visits Room via Security. There will be a rub down search by a prison officer of the same gender as you, this includes the officer looking in your mouth and there may be a drugs search with a drugs dog – if you’re scared of dogs, don’t worry, they are very well trained and the handlers work in a way that keeps the dogs calm.

In the Visiting Room

Seating in the Visit: at each table there is one seat for the prisoner and 3 seats for visitors – the prisoner must stay in their seat for the visit

Tea Bar & Vending Machines: since late 2017, there has been a Tea Bar available for some visits. At other times, visitors can use the vending machines for themselves and the prisoner but cannot share food with the prisoner. Prisoners cannot go to the Tea Bar or operate the vending machines.

Play Area: Toybox / Playstation children’s charity run a play area for some visits – check their timetable to find out when the play area is staffed.

Child Visits: these take place in a different Visits Room with more facilities for children and more flexibility in contact with the prisoner. We hope to have photos of this area available soon.

More Information:

Families Outside Helpline Freephone Advice: 0800 254 0088 (office hours)