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Support for families and friends of prisoners

Get advice and support if you or someone you know is:

  • sent to prison or a young offenders' institution
  • in custody awaiting trial (on remand)

What support you can get

Practical and financial support

This includes:

  • housing
  • taking care of children
  • debt and money
  • any benefits you claim
  • any possessions or property you own
  • legal advice and rights
  • work

Read our guide to help with money if you're affected by imprisonment.

Emotional support

This includes:

  • relationships
  • coping with feelings
  • hostility you, your family or your friends might face from neighbours and the community – or from closer to home

Support with prison visits

This includes:

  • arranging visits
  • travel expenses
  • keeping in contact in other ways

Where you can get support

Prison visitor centres

Most prisons have a visitor centre where staff can give advice to families and friends of people in prison. Visitor centres are independent from the prison. They offer a friendly visiting space and can give you practical information on things like:

  • visiting arrangements (in person and virtual)
  • housing
  • mental health
  • domestic violence
  • childcare
  • parenting
  • support in the community

Scottish Prison Service

If you need help from The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) you should contact the prison and ask for the Family Contact Officer (FCO). All prisons in Scotland have a FCO who can give advice and practical help to relatives.

Local councils

Some local councils offer services that support prisoners and their families during and after imprisonment.

To find out what help you can get in your area, visit your local council's website.

More information

You can also get help from:

Families Outside

This Scottish charity provides support, information and family support workers to families of prisoners.
Phone : freephone 0800 254 0088
Text: FAMOUT to 60777

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)

CAS can give detailed support and guidance on everything from legal advice to practical arrangements. They'll refer you to the right place if they're not able to help. You can:

Phone: 0808 800 9060

Find out about call charges


This Scottish community justice organisation provides services across Scotland, covering everything from conflict resolution to housing support.

Visit the SACRO website to find out what help you can get in your area.

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