26 July 2023

We know how important it is for friends and family members to stay in touch with their loved ones in prison. Secure video calls are one of the ways that you can do this, as well as face-to-face visits and other ways of staying in touch.

Over the next few months, most prisons will start using a new system called Prison Video. This means that you will need to use the Prison Video app on your phone or tablet device to have a video call with someone in prison.

The Prison Video 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 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. It is provided by Phonehub, a trusted supplier that already provides the Prison Voicemail service.

Please be reassured that if you have a call booked with Purple Visits which hasn’t happened yet, it will still go ahead. In future, your video calls will be booked with Prison Video instead. When the changeover happens will depend on which prison your loved one is in, and the exact dates will be communicated locally. Individual prison pages will also be updated on Gov.UK.


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.

Prison Video will be replacing Purple Visits in most prisons in England and Wales by the end of April 2022.

Why is the video call service changing?

The contract for Purple Visits in some prisons is ending soon. So that we can continue providing video calls in prisons, HMPPS ran a competition for the new contract, and a different company was successful. 

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? 

Video calls will still be free for now, while visits are affected by COVID-19 restrictions. This will be reviewed as we lift restrictions in prisons and more visits can take place.  

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, and upload photos of your ID and face. 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.

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. 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 purposes, and staff may watch or listen to them
  • No screenshots, photographs or screen recording is allowed
  • Wear appropriate clothing
  • 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 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 until the changeover to Prison Video has been completed. You may wish to keep the Purple Visits app as the service will continue in some prisons.

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

A user guide and other information is available here:

For technical support, please contact [email protected].