What to Expect on a Visit
You will be directed to report to the Visitors' Centre for initial registration. Please try to arrive at least twenty 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 Visitors' Centre you will need to collect your acceptable form of identification. Adult visitors will also be enrolled within the Visitor Registration Scheme (VRS) and all visitors will have their hand stamped with an identification mark.
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 that you may take into the prison for the purpose of purchasing light refreshments during your visit.
Once registered, you will be called forward to the Entry Building Visitors' Entrance for searching. Your identification will be rechecked and you will be directed across to the Visits Hall.
All visitors to HMP Birmingham 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.
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, and CCTV surveillance. Children under ten 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, adult visitors will be UV hand stamped, and all visitors will then move to the Visits Hall. 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, prisoners will remain in the Visits Hall until all their visitors have been accounted for and have left the building. UV verification will ensure that only visitors leave the Visits building, and VRS verification will ensure that only visitors leave the Gate/Entry Building. Prisoners will be accounted for also, prior to the Visits Hall being vacated.
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.
The only items visitors will be allowed to take with them to the prison on a visit are loose change to use in the drinks machine, a locker key (if a locker has been used), a house key, a car key and visitors identification.
Lockers are available at the Visitors Centre should you wish to use them. The prison takes no responsibility for the contents of the lockers. The prison does not insist that you use a locker before you enter the prison, only that you do not take unauthorised items into the prison. A £1.00 coin deposit is required for the use of a locker.
You will be required to use a locker in the prison in the Visitors waiting area. This is so that your personal ID and jackets/coats can be safely stored while your visit takes place. A £1.00 coin is required for its use.
The charity organisation HALOW operate a designated help and support line for the families and friends of prisoners at HMP Birmingham on 0121 598 8050 (please note Social and Legal visits cannot be booked through this service).