A sentenced prisoner is entitled to one visit per week of 30 minutes duration and a remand prisoner is entitled to a visit on any week day of 15 minutes duration. If the sentenced prisoner is aged under 18, he/she is entitled to two visits per week of 30 minutes duration.
However, in practice, additional or longer visits may be granted where circumstances permit, at the Governor's discretion.
The practice in all prisons is not to allow more than 3 visitors per offender at a time. The majority of visits are supervised in sight, but not in hearing, of prison staff.
The frequency and length of visits can vary according to the type of institution. In the open centres, which accommodate sentenced prisoners only, visits generally take place on a Saturday and Sunday only, between certain hours. A visitor may stay for any length of time during the allocated visiting hours.
There are procedures (concerning searches, persons allowed visit, opening hours, etc) individual to each institution, and it is recommended to contact the prison in advance of their intended visit if you are unfamiliar with these procedures.
Visiting times and requirements for visitors are given for each prison on the website of the Irish Prison Service here.
What to expect
'Changing Ireland' and CASP (Clondalkin Addiction Support Programme) have produced a series of 11 short videos describing the visiting process for families.
For example, see 'Got someone in prison: What to expect on your first visit' opposite.