Citation Foster R (2019) Families' Experiences in a Prison Visitors' Centre. In: Hutton M & Moran D (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Prison and the Family. 1 ed. Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology. Basingstoke: Springer International Publishing, pp. 251-272. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-12744-2
Abstract This chapter explores the important but often overlooked spaces of prison visitors’ centres. After providing context to the evolution and workings of prison visitors’ centres in the UK, this chapter focuses on one visitors’ centre in Scotland, exploring how it operates and how it is experienced on a day to day basis by visiting families. The chapter discusses the support that is offered in this space through the provision of tailored facilities and activities and dedicated staff, and how these can help those families who need it. The chapter then reflects on how the existence of a designated space offers families the opportunity to establish their own informal support networks, which have, perhaps unexpected, underlying nuance and complexity. In sharing different families’ experiences of using and spending time in the visitors’ centre, the diversity of both prisoners’ families and their experience of prison visiting, and wider experiences of the incarceration of a loved one, are drawn attention to.