11 August 2022

All public sector prisons offering secure social video calls have now moved on to a different system called Prison Video.

From now on, all your social video calls with someone in a public sector prison will be booked with Prison Video rather than Purple Visits.

The private prison estate continues to use Made Purple, the approved video call provider behind Purple Visits, at the following sites:

  • Altcourse
  • Ashfield
  • Bronzefield
  • Doncaster
  • Dovegate
  • Five Wells
  • Forest Bank
  • Lowdham Grange
  • Oakwood
  • Parc
  • Peterborough
  • Rye Hill
  • Thameside
  • Northumberland

Both video calling providers operate to our standards for security and protect your information.

What to do if your prison has moved to Prison Video

This means that you will need to use the Prison Video app on your mobile phone or tablet device to have a video call with someone in a public sector prison. The app is available to download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store (or equivalent app stores outside the UK).

We have produced a user guide and a list of frequently asked questions (see below) which will give you all the information you need to start using Prison Video.

The new system has been carefully tested to make sure it works in a similar way to video call services you may have used before.

We know how important it is for friends and family members to stay in touch with their loved ones in prison. Secure video calling is just one way that you can do this, as well as face-to-face visits and other options.

Prison Video: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Prison Video?

Prison Video is the new app for secure video calls that helps you stay in touch with people in prison. It has replaced Purple Visits in most prisons in England and Wales.

Why has the video call service changed?

The contract for Purple Visits in public sector prisons has come to an end. So that we can continue providing video calls in prisons, HMPPS ran a competition for the new contract, and a different company was successful. Purple Visits will continue in the private prison estate as an approved HMPPS provider.

I haven’t had a secure video call before – what can I expect to happen?

Once the call is booked you will receive a notification confirming the day and time it will take place.

The call will start when your family member or significant other has connected at the other end, so please be patient.

Once the call has started, you will be able to see and hear each other.

During the call, the system will continually check the identities of the people present to make sure that only people who have been approved by the prison are on the call. It will also check for signs of inappropriate clothing or nudity. If the system detects any of these things, the call will be paused automatically.

In most cases the secure video call will then resume automatically.

Will I have to pay for video calls now?

No, all prisoners can still have one free call per month.

What do I need to do to use Prison Video?

You will need to download and install the free Prison Video app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store (or equivalent app stores outside the UK) on your phone or tablet device and then create an account. Only people aged 18 or over can register for an account with Prison Video.

You will need to provide your name, address, and date of birth, upload a photo of your ID, and upload a photo of your face looking straight to the camera as you would in a passport photo. Please note that the face photo can be taken using your phone, and your loved ones will never see it – it is for app authorisation purposes only.

You will also need to add details of any other people who wish to take part in the video calls with you, such as children, and upload a clear photo of each participant’s face looking straight at the camera.

You will need to upload ID for people over the age of 18 only, unless the prison specifically asks for anything else.

Can children join a video call?

Yes, children can join a call if they are registered and approved as extra participants in your Prison Video account. This means you will need to add details of the children who wish to take part in the video calls, and a clear photo of each child’s face looking straight at the camera. No other ID is required for children unless requested by the prison.

Who else is allowed to join a secure video call?

Only people who have been added and approved as participants will be allowed on the call.

What are the rules for secure video calls?

  • Just like phone calls, all video calls are recorded for security and public safety purposes, and staff may watch or listen to them
  • No screenshots, photographs or screen recording is allowed
  • You must wear appropriate clothing in the same way you would if you were visiting face-to-face
  • Only approved contacts can be on the call
  • The account holder must always be present during the call

You’ll need to follow the usual prison rules around what to wear and how to behave. The call can be paused or ended if prison rules are not followed.

I have previously used Purple Visits – will I notice any differences?

There will be some minor differences in the way the systems look, but the video call experience itself will be the same.

Will I need to use Purple Visits again?

If you have previously used Purple Visits, we recommend keeping the app on your device in case you need it in future as the service will continue in private sector prisons.

What can I do to improve the quality of the secure video call?

  • Make sure you have the latest version of the app installed. You can check this in your phone settings
  • To minimise pauses, we recommend everyone on the call tries not to move excessively
  • Make sure the room is well-lit and turn to face light from windows rather than have light shining behind you. Uneven or dim lighting can disrupt the way the system recognises faces
  • It is best to sit in front of a plain wall. Pictures or patterns in the background may affect the camera being able to stay focused on your faces
  • Wi-Fi provides the most stable internet connection, but you can also use mobile data
  • Headphones may help with the sound quality of the secure video call, but they are not essential

What should we do if the call pauses?

  • Try to look square on at the camera and then resume normal movement. This will help the AI to recognise you
  • Avoid excessive levels of movement
  • Turn on lights and make sure everyone’s face is well-lit
  • Remove any photographs or images of people from the background
  • Make sure everyone on the call is appropriately dressed. If the system detects possible nudity the call may pause

Where can I find out more about how to use Prison Video?

A user guide and other information is available here:

For all customer support enquiries, please contact [email protected].