Staying connected with friends and family

Visiting prison under COVID-19

Updated 5 November 2021

Vaccination requirements for visitors

To safeguard visitors and people in prison, Corrections is requiring all private visitors to prisons nationwide to show they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

  • From 13 November 2021: all visitors to prison aged 12 and over will be required to have had at least one vaccination. Ahead of the release of vaccination certificates, they will be required to present either a purple COVID-19 vaccination record card or a printed copy of their online My Covid Record.
  • From 9 December 2021: all visitors to prison aged 12 and over will be required to be fully vaccinated. They will be required to present a printed version of their vaccination certificate on arrival.

If you cannot show you are vaccinated, you will not be allowed to visit in person.

Please note that these requirements will not extend to statutory visitors such as the Ombudsman or legal advisors.

Read our media release Visitors to prison required to be fully vaccinated

updated 12 November

Sites at Alert Level 2

Includes: Invercargill Prison, Otago Corrections Facility, Christchurch Men’s Prison, Christchurch Women’s Prison, Rolleston Prison, Rimutaka Prison, Arohata Prison, Manawatū Prison, Whanganui Prison, Hawke's Bay Regional Prison, Tongariro Prison and Northland Region Corrections Facility,

Personal visits continue at all prisons outside of Auckland and the Waikato. We are taking extra precautions to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.

  • The total number of visitors able to attend each visit session, and/or the duration of visits may need to be reduced
  • A contract tracing system is in place at each site for the purpose of mandatory contract tracing
  • Thermal cameras will screen everyone coming into prison in case they have a high temperature which could indicate COVID-19 infection or another illness. If you have a temperature of 38 C or higher, you may not be able to visit that day.
  • All visitors to our sites will be asked to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser.
  • All visitors to our sites will be asked the Ministry of Health screening questions.
  • Visitors will have to confirm up to date contact information in case there are concerns of exposure to COVID-19.
  • You will be provided with PPE (face mask) for your own safety as well as that of the person you are visiting. We’ll have instructions available to show you how to safely put on and take off your mask.
  • You will need to practice physical distancing and maintain a 2-metre distance from others where possible –the best way to keep the person you are visiting safe, is to limit physical contact.
  • If you are unwell please stay home.

Sites at Alert Level 3

Includes: Auckland Prison, Mt Eden Corrections Facility, Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility, Auckland South Corrections Facility, Spring Hill Corrections Facility, and Waikeria Prison.

Unfortunately, personal visits to prisoners at these prisons are unable to take place until further notice.

  • We are providing additional phone cards to prisoners to ensure contact with friends and whānau continues. Video calling may be available for certain prisoners at some prisons.
  • Face-to-face statutory visits (including Ombudsman and Inspectorate visits) will continue with appropriate health and safety protocols in place, including mask wearing. All other face-to-face visits, including Parole Board and legal visits will be undertaken via other means such as phone or audio-visual link (AVL).
  • We are using thermal cameras to check the temperature of everyone who comes to our prison – staff, people in prison, and visitors.
  • Health services to people in prison are being maintained.

Other ways to stay in touch

You can still make contact with people in prison by phone, mail, email and, in some cases, video calling.

  • We are providing people in prison with $5 phonecards so they can make more calls
  • We have installed more phones for people in prison to call loved ones.
  • You can email a prisoner. See the list of email addresses to send an email to someone in prison. (A staff member will print it out and give it to the person. They can reply by post.)
  • Video calling is available in most prisons for eligible people to video call their approved visitors, subject to availability.

For more COVID-19 health advice and information call Healthline free on 0800 358 5453.

It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and has access to interpreters.

If you visit

We are asking everyone coming into prison to take added safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This means:

  • asking Ministry of Health health screening questions
  • following any requests from staff around the wearing of face masks
  • physical distancing
  • providing details to support contact tracing
  • thermal imaging cameras to detect high temperatures
  • hand hygiene on entry.

Thank you for helping us to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.