Entering Corrections

When your person first enters the Corrections system, it can be difficult to find answers as to how to get in contact, how to get property to them and what they are allowed. It's often a steep learning curve and a lot of questions can arise
We have put together the initial questions most face when someone they're supporting is entering into the Corrections system.

Some information provided is direct from the Corrections NZ website. Links included where necessary.


Below is the basics to know and understand:

(Click the option below for further info)



For what to expect on their initial entry to corrections, see here
Two types of prisoners can be sent to prison by the court. Sentenced prisoners that have been convicted of a crime and given a term of imprisonment and Remand prisoners who are being held while awaiting trial or sentencing.


All inmates receive a Personal Record Number or PRN when entering the system.
You will need this number to add money to their account or email them. To gain their number, you will need to email or fill out the 'Seeking Location' form here → PRN Number


Your request will then be passed to the inmate to ensure they are happy for you to have this information.

↑ Back to top

It has been noted that sometimes, the name given to the prison on the Corrections website, is unclear which prison it is referring to as many refer to a prison by an alternative name (or the area that prison is situated in)

Click here for a list of alternative names and details for each prison. You can click the Prison name to access more info on the Corrections website for a specific prison.

EMAILING ↑ Back to top

See full list of Prison Inmate email addresses HERE
Note: ASCF/Wiri Prison is not listed as it is privately run by SERCO not the NZ Government Corrections system. Email address is emailaprisonerascf@serco-ap.co.nz


It is sometimes unclear which prison is which. Please see the list of Prisons here and their alternative names.

In order to email your person, you will need to know their PRN (Personal Record Number). ( See above)

Open a new email, enter the prison email address where your person resides (List here) and in the subject line, add their full name followed by their PRN number.

Attention Joe Blogs PRN1234567


There are two ways to make phone contact - via phone cards or 0800 number setup. (See options for 0800 below)
Phone cards are available to purchase through the prison weekly shopping system or you can send in phone cards to your person without needing a property form.

Please note: Prisoners in MECF can buy phone cards through the canteen. They may not receive phonecards by post or in person

The $5 phone cards give 15 minutes of call time and are available from your local dairy or supermarket.


Each call is capped at 15 minutes before it’s cut off. Your person will need to ring back again after being disconnected.

Up to 10 phone numbers can be approved at any one time for people in prison to call.

Once a person has applied to have the number approved, staff check to make sure the call recipient is happy to receive calls from within the prison. The number is then made available for the person to call.

Apart from some free (0800) numbers, prisoners must pay for the calls they make.
The cost of making calls is:

All phone calls can be monitored. This means that calls are recorded and can be listened to by staff.

Approved 0800 numbers

The alternative to phone cards is setting up a personal 0800 number. There is a cost associated with this setup for you as the family but it means your person will be able to ring you from inside from the payphones and payment will be yours and not taken from their limited trust account.

How do I get an 0800 number?
We have researched the options for 0800 numbers for you and found the best deals.
See here for what suits your needs bes


The only things you can send direct to the prison are photos and calling cards.

Everything else will need to be requested by your person via the Property Request form. They will then need to get it signed off by the Corrections Officer (CO) who will then post it to you in the mail with specific rules applied.

For example: No clothing or footwear, including socks, singlets and underwear can be Red, Blue or Yellow at all


Be sure to use track and trace when sending anything into a prison. That way you can know for sure that it arrived and when and have receipts should you need to follow up with onsite staff.
Below is an example of the list you may see regarding restrictions on what you can send in.
Property list 1
Property list 2


All people in prison have a trust account, which they can use to buy approved grocery items on a weekly basis.

Trust accounts are limited to a maximum of $200 and prisoners cannot spend more than $70 per week.

You can either deposit cash while visiting in person, or deposit in a Wespac branch or via online banking.

To make deposits via online banking or at Westpac branches you will need to know:

- the prison your friend or family member is in

- their Prisoner Record Number (PRN) (see above)

For more info, see here
For a list of Prison Trust Account numbers, see here

Weekly shopping system                   

People in prison can use their trust account to buy approved grocery items once a week.

Approved items include:

  • groceries
  • toiletries
  • phone cards
  • stamps
  • confectionery items

Prisoners are limited to spending a maximum of $70 per week and the total value/amount of an order cannot exceed the prisoner’s available trust account balance.


It’s up to the person in prison to decide who they want to visit them. The person in prison arranges to send an application form to the person they want to see, so that person can apply to become an approved visitor.
(These application forms are not available online)

You can ask prison staff to pass on a message to a prisoner that you want to visit them. The process is the same for people who are in prison whether they are on remand or if they have been sentenced.

People who want to visit first fill out a visitor application form, which is followed by security checks.The application process also applies to all children under 18.

If the visitor has a court order against the prisoner they will need to contact the prison directly for advice.

If the visitor is aged under 18, the Child Application form goes to the child’s guardian.

Read more about the process for Children Visiting Prisons.

The form asks for information such as name, date of birth, and criminal history and a copy of identification. This could be:

  • Driver licence
  • Passport
  • SuperGold card with photo
  • 18+ card
  • Student ID card
  • Bank card with photo

The completed application form is sent back to the prison where staff assess the application and make a recommendation to the Prison Director.  You’ll be notified in writing of their decision.

If you become an approved visitor, you must show the approval letter and suitable photo ID at each visit.

If your application is declined a deny approval notification is sent. This means you can’t enter a prison for a set period. You can appeal the decision and the details about how to do this will be sent with your notification.

Once you receive your approval letter you can book a visit.

Different prisons have different booking processes. In some prisons the visitor will book the visit, in others the prisoner will make the booking and let their visitor know by phone or mail.

Instructions about booking a visit may be included with your approval letter. If you have any questions please call the prison visits staff at the prison you want to visit.

All people in prison (except those serving a period of cell confinement on penalty grounds) are entitled to at least one visit each week for at least 30 minutes. Each prison determines how many visits a prisoner can have and how many visitors at each visit.

Visits must be booked in advance.

Visiting hours vary across all prisons and generally depend on which unit the person is in.

There is usually a 3 person limit per inmate per visit

In some circumstances, special visits can be arranged, for example family visiting from overseas or the death of a loved one.

For more information about what to do and expect upon arrival, see here. 

Feedback from others show that different prisons do things in different ways. There isnt always conformity within the prisons across the country so please be prepared for the unexpected.

COVID-19 policies for visiting can be found here


Explaining Prison to children can be a daunting task. How much info do you give? What do they actually need to know? How will they feel or react?
There is an excellent website made for kids to help them with questions they may have.


Should you experience issues when following our guidance above or a procedure that an organisation has stipulated has not been followed, please get in touch with us here. We aim to have the best and most up to date information on our website and believe in accountability for those providing care to our loved ones.
See our full policies here