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Visitor Complaints

Independent,
Impartial
Investigation

The Prisoner Ombudsman investigates complaints submitted to the Office by Visitors who have been unable to resolve their problem or concern through the Visits Manager of the prison they attended.

The Prisoner Ombudsman also investigates complaints submitted to the Office by individual Prisoners, and in certain circumstances Former Prisoners, who have failed to resolve their problem or concern through the Prison Service Internal Complaints Process.

DownloadVisitor Complaint Form

Contacting the Visits Manager

Hydebank Wood College & Women's Prison

Hydebank Wood College & Women's Prison, Hydebank Wood, Hospital Road, BELFAST, BT8 8NA

Telephone 028 9025 3666
Fax 028 9025 3668

Maghaberry Prison

Maghaberry Prison, Old Road, Ballinderry Upper, LISBURN, BT28 2PT

Telephone 028 9261 1888
Fax 028 9261 4961
(9am-5pm Monday to Friday)
Fax 028 9261 3292
(out of hours, weekends and bank holidays)

Magilligan Prison

Magilligan Prison,
Point Road,
LIMAVADY, BT49 OLR

Telephone 028 7776 3311
Fax 028 7772 0307

The Complaints Process

For visitors, the Prison Service internal complaints process has one stage which must be completed before you can bring a complaint to the Prisoner Ombudsman. The process is as follows:

  • A visitor can make a complaint about: their treatment by a member of Prison Service staff; facilities available to them at the prison as a visitor; the cleanliness and adequacy of prison premises.
  • The visitor must send a written complaint to the Visits Manager within 21 days of the event that took place to cause the complaint.
  • The Prison Service should provide a written response within 22 working days.
  • If the Visitor is unhappy with the response, they can call or write to the Prisoner Ombudsman’s Office and register their complaint – 0800 783 6317.
  • If the visitor does not receive a response within 22 working days of having sent their complaint to the Prison Service, they can also call or write to the Prisoner Ombudsman’s Office and register their complaint – 0800 783 6317.

Complaints Received by the Prisoner Ombudsman

Complaints from visitors are normally only accepted if received within 30 days from the Prison Service response being received by them, or deadlines having been reached. However, the Prisoner Ombudsman has discretion to consider complaints where there is a good reason for a delay or the issues raised are so serious as to override the time factor.

Within 3 days of receiving a complaint, the Prisoner Ombudsman will write to the visitor explaining what will happen next.

The Terms of Reference for the Investigation of Complaints explains the Prisoner Ombudsman's investigative process.