Information about Virtual Visit

Following the successful trial-run of the online-visit pilot project at the Port of Spain Prison on Wednesday April 01, 2020, the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service is pleased to inform that a policy was developed and has been adopted relative to virtual visits and electronic mail, in accordance with prison rules and regulations.
This policy provides for the general guidelines to be adhered to, the censoring and monitoring of virtual visits and electronic mail, visit hours and duration, visitor approval, expectation of visitors, visitor conduct and termination of visits.
In light of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic currently being experienced by our nation, Commissioner of Prisons (Ag), Mr. Dennis Pulchan has noted that the initiative is an important and additional measure designed to keep the lines of communication open between inmates and their loved ones during this time and essentially, going forward.
As a result, the virtual visit program has been implemented at the Golden Grove Prison, Remand Prison, Women’s Prison and the Maximum Security Prison and would become fully operational with effect from Monday April 06, 2020.

F.A.Qs about Virtual Visits

1. How Can I schedule a virtual visit?
  • The offender must initiate request through Welfare Department.
  • Once entitled, the Welfare Officer will contact the family to schedule the visit
2. How Long And How Often Are The Visits?
  • Duration of up to ten (10) minutes. 
  • Visits will be accommodated once every two weeks
3. How do I access a visit? What are the requirements?
  • You must have a valid email address
  • You can use your mobile phone or any device with a camera, speaker and microphone
  • You will be advised of date and time of visit by Welfare Officer
  • You will receive an invitational link via email sent from the Prison establishment which contacted you, indicating guidelines to be adopted during the visit and for video conferencing
4. What will I do on the day and time of my visit?
  • Click the ZOOM link sent to you in the email from the prison at least 10 minutes before your call to allow for any technical issues
  • If you do not have the app on your phone, it will prompt you to download it.
  • Normal visitation rules apply as listed in guidelines to be adopted during a visit (Click here for visitation rules)
  • If you contravene any of the established rules or guidelines, your Virtual Visit will be immediately terminated.

Learn to Join a Virtual Visit

Why visit an offender?

Visiting a loved one in a facility.

The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service encourages visits to offenders and other detainees as part of its rehabilitation process. Any person can visit unless the offender requests that the visit be denied. 

Persons visit offenders for various reasons which include but are not limited to:

  • To offer help and moral support
  • To maintain family ties
  • For physical interaction and communication
  • Legal reasons or updates
  • Spiritual and religious upliftment

Where is my relative or friend?

Determining the facility your loved one is in:

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ALL persons are committed to the established quarantine station, Eastern Correctional Rehabilitation Centre.
  • Offenders are housed at ECRC for mandatory fourteen (14) days
  • After fourteen days, they are allocated and transferred to an institution.
  • In order to determine which institution the offender has been sent to, the Welfare Department at ECRC can be contacted on WhatsApp at 317-8395 or call direct on 643-2217

Who can visit an offender?

Types of Visitation

All Offenders are entitled to visits. In accordance with Rules and Regulations, visits differ in frequency and duration, based on offenders’ classification and status.

  • Ordinary Visit- Conducted in sight and hearing of Visit Officer, the offender sits on one side of the table and visitors on the opposite side.
  • Legal Visit- Conducted in sight but not within hearing of the Visit Officer, this is a visit to the offender by his counsel.
  • Police Visit- This is an interview of a prisoner by a Police Officer in his official capacity and can only be carried out with the offender’s consent.
  •  Condemned Visit- This is similar to an ordinary visit in nature however, the protocol differs. In this instance, the offender must request the visit.
  • Religious Visit- Offenders are allowed visits by Ministers of their religion and are conducted in the sight but out of hearing of the Visit Officer.
  • Virtual Visit – Conducted through the Welfare Department, this is done online via the ZOOM application. 
  • Children’s Visit – This visit must be approved by the Commissioner of Prisons or someone so designated. It is a privilege but not an entitlement.
  • Special Visit – These are facilitated by the Superintendent of the station with the approval of the Commissioner of Prisons in cases of emergency such as the death or serious illness of a near relative, business or family affairs of an urgent nature, or when arrangements are being made for obtaining employment or assistance upon release.

How and when can I visit my loved one at an institution?

Updated Visit Guidelines

With the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, visits to all prison establishments were suspended. The gradual resumption saw new measures implemented, with precise and careful management in an attempt to prevent and control the spread of the virus within the nation’s prisons.

Today, up to fifty (50) visits are facilitated daily, strictly on a scheduled basis;

  • Remanded Visits – Mon – Fri  8:00 am – 3:00 pm – (Once Weekly)
  • Convicted Visits – Tues & Thurs 1:00 – 3:00 pm -(Once Monthly)

In order to visit a loved one, it must be done by following the undermentioned guidelines:

  • Only ONE (1) person is allowed on the compound to visit an offender
  • Send your request via WhatsApp to 473-6713
  • Include the visitor’s name, visitor’s identification number, offender’s name, offender’s location, offender’s classification (remanded or convicted), and preferred date and time of visit.
  • A confirmation message would be sent within one hour.

POINTS TO NOTE

  • Persons will NOT be allowed entry without a mask
  • Strict COVID-19 protocols are in place for the safety of all.
  • ALL persons and their items would be searched upon entry.

What can I bring?

Approved Items

As part of our COVID-19 protocols to mitigate against the spread of the virus, items are NOT allowed to be brought into the facility.

However, provisions can be made with the approval of the Superintendent of the facility, to have approved items brought in, strictly on a ‘needs’ basis. This provision is only extended for items of clothing.

The needs of the offender are assessed and taken to the Superintendent for approval. A family member is contacted and advised of the items required. The items can be dropped off at any time and would not be considered as a visit. Items are sanitized and searched in the presence of the relative and only items on the approved list are accepted. 

If the relative wishes to see the offender, he/she can do so by scheduling an appointment and advising that approval was granted to carry items. 

Visitors should note that once approval is granted, names are sent to the Visit Officer for his information and guidance, and as such, approval for items would be subjected to verification.  

Age Restrictions & ID Requirements

Age & Identification Requirements:

  1. Any person 18 years and over can visit a friend or relative.
  2. Persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must obtain the necessary approval from the Commissioner of Prisons.

IDENTIFICATION

    • The visitor MUST produce a form of picture identification to be allowed the visit.
    • The visitor’s form of picture identification MUST be valid.
    • Identification documents that are accepted include a Trinidad and Tobago National Identification Card, a Driver’s Permit, or a Passport.

Dress Code is in Effect

What can I wear?

Once visiting an institution, persons should be aware that there is a stringent dress code that must be adhered to. Persons in violation of the dress code as set out by the Commissioner of Prisons, will NOT be allowed entry onto the compound. Click here for dress code requirements.

Commissary

Information about commissary

The only way to purchase food, personal and other items is via the commissary store. Click here for more information.

Unauthorised or Prohibited Items

Note: You can be arrested and charged if caught attempting to bring into any facility any of the items listed below.