Video Visits – FAQ's
What browser can I use?
You can use all updated versions of modern browsers when using the Emailaprisoner (Emap) account for Video Visits. We would recommend using the following:
Google Chrome versions 81, 83, 84 & 85 onwards
Safari version 13.1 (iOS 13 onwards)
Edge versions 81 & 83 onwards
Firefox version 76 onwards
Please note that if you are using an Apple device the video visit will only work using Safari as the browser
We would always advise that you use the ‘test call’ option and click on the ‘make test call’ button. If you can see yourself in the thumbnail and ‘waiting to join' text is in the larger screen, then the device and browser you are using are compatible for a successful video visit
How do I allow camera access on my browser?
Safari – go to ‘Settings’ and find the app for ‘Safari’ then ‘Settings for Websites’ ‘Camera’ and ‘Microphone’ should be set to ‘Allow’
Google Chrome – click on ‘View Site Information’ (padlock symbol) on the URL bar. On ‘Site settings’, the ‘Camera’ and ‘Microphone’ should be set to ‘Allow’
Can I use my phone/tablet for my Video Visit?
You will be able to use any device that is able to connect to WiFi with a camera and microphone enabled. Mobile Phone/Tablet/Laptop/PC
Login not working
Please ensure you are entering your log in details correctly at www.emailaprisoner.com
Click on ‘I forgot my password’, we will send a link to your registered email address, which will then allow you to create a new password – ensure it is at least 8 digits long and includes one capital, one lowercase letter and one number or special character
How does the Video Visit work?
You will follow the process to upload facial and ID scans and request your visit through your Emap account. The establishment will need to approve your facial and ID scans
Once approved they will then send you one or more choices of available dates and time slots. You will be notified by email to your registered email address that you have dates to choose
Once you have chosen your date/time slot, the booking is confirmed. Your recipient will be automatically notified with the details of your visit by an Emap message in the next daily batch or via kiosk/in cell device
You can log in to join the visit up to 5 minutes before your time slot
Your recipient will be given a code to log in to your visit at the establishment
The Visitor is under 16?
Unfortunately, users need to be 16 or over to register for Video Visits. This is a requirement of the Scottish Prison Service. Any requests from customer 16 or under will be rejected
Children are able to sit in on the visit with an adult, however, the adult will need to register and add their own face scan and photo ID
Why is HMP *** not available?
The Video Visit tab will only appear in your menu bar if you have a recipient registered on your account at an establishment that are facilitating the service. Please keep an eye on the website for news
Once you click on the Video Visits tab for the first time, you will be instructed to create a facial scan and to add a form of ID (passport or driving licence) to your visit request. This is to confirm your identity. The scans will be approved or rejected by the establishment staff when you request your visit. If they are rejected, you will need to create new ones. The two other forms of ID accept are :
- The National Entitlement Card ( Saltire Card or Young Scot)
- Validate UK or Citizens Card
ID won’t scan/is damaged/out of date?
Your passport or driving licence and other accepted photographic ID is required for identification and must be in date or the establishment staff may reject them
The facial scan is not working
Ensure that the device you are using has the camera enabled. You may need to update the permissions in your device settings and your browser settings
Is my document/face scan shared with any third parties?
Your scanned ID and facial scan are only shared in the secure Staff Portal at the establishment, so authorised staff can verify your identity and approve your visit. The scans will be available to the staff with the visit booked and any future visits
I want to change my approved face scan/ID
Please go to 'my profile and settings' on your account, select and delete the relevant scans. You will be required to process new ones before making a request for a Video Visit
How much does each visit cost?
The Video Visits will be free of charge while there are no social visits. The cost after this time is to be confirmed
Is the money on EMAP account available or does it require a separate payment process?
When the visits start to be charged, the cost of the visit will be taken from the credit on your Email a prisoner account at the point of choosing the date/time that the establishment have offered to you
How long does it take for my document/face scan to be reviewed?
As soon as you send your booking request it will be available to be verified on the establishment portal. However, it will depend on the staff at the establishment on how regularly the requests are checked
I have not received any date and time slots?
As above. When the available time/date slot(s) have been offered, you will receive an email, to your registered email address, to let you know that dates are available to book
How long does it take for a request to be approved?
The Establishment Staff will be checking the booking requests regularly. However, there is no time limit for them to process your request. Unfortunately, we would be unable to influence how quickly your visit will be approved
The time I have been offered has a line through it, why?
This time slot is no longer available. You will need to start the process again
I cannot make the time that has been offered - I need a certain day/time
If you are not able to make the Video Visit time that has been offered, you will need to click on either ‘Cancel’ and fill out a new request form or ‘Reject All and Request New'
Unfortunately, we do not have any control over the dates/times offered for Video Visits. Times are offered by the establishment. The number of Video Visits allowed per recipient is also a decison made by the establishment
Why was my Video Visit request rejected?
Unfortunately, we are not given a reason for a rejected Video Visit. Please contact the prison directly for more information.
Prisoners declining/unable to attend visit
There may be occasion when your recipient is unable to make the visit, in which case it will be cancelled by staff and you will be notified. If this happened, and this has incurred a cost to you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a refund
Does the prisoner need internet connection?
The visit will take place over a secure portal within the establishment; therefore, a stable internet connection is required on both ends
How long will each visit last?
During this time of no social visits, each visit may last from ten to thirty minutes, depending on the decision made by the establishment. There will be a countdown timer on your screen and a warning alarm every minute from five minutes until the end of your visit
Are Video Visits private?
Your visit may be monitored on another device by an Establishment Officer. They also retain the right to end your visit if you or your recipient breach the Terms and Conditions
Your visit may be recorded, and the recording kept securely - in line with GDPR regulations – for a permitted time. After this time, they are permanently deleted
You will not have access to the recording
Can more than one person join the visit?
There is not currently an option to choose a Family Visit. The officers monitoring will make allowances for this and you will be able to have up to 2 extra visitors on the screen with you at one time. They will not need to add a face scan/photo ID
My recipient cannot see me
The facial recognition has failed, you need to sit fairly still and close to the screen. Once recognised the video feed will begin again
I am using my mobile phone for the visit, what happens if I get a call?
The video feed may stop if you receive a call while participating in a Video Visit. The Video sound may mute, or you may get logged out. As soon as the call is cancelled the sound will resume. If you get logged out, you will be able to log straight back into your account and re-join the Video Visit. You may need to reset the permissions for the camera/microphone
Why was my call terminated early?
The call may be monitored and if the staff view activity that breaches the Terms and Conditions agreed to, with either yourself or your recipient they retain the right to terminate the visit
A refund will only be issued if the recipient was unable to make the visit, or if the Establishment Staff cancel the visit prior to it taking place. There is no basis for a refund if you have missed the visit, or if the visit was terminated by Establishment Staff monitoring the visit
Email a prisoner / neatPhone FAQ's
How does email a prisoner work?
You can send messages to a prisoner via the www.emailaprisoner.com website, it takes only a few minutes to sign up and, the message gets delivered to the prison. Our sophisticated systems allow you to write an email, press 'send' and sit back, in the knowledge the email will be delivered each day, safely and securely to the prison of your choice and included in the next mail delivery inside the prison. From all corners of the World you can now stay in contact with prisoners, all for 40 pence per message. Certain establishments (see list here) give you the option to receive a reply from your recipient for which there is an extra charge of 25 pence There are counters below the message to help you keep count but they won't be enforced until you submit the message
Why do you charge for messages?
There are running costs for this service. We supply paper, envelopes, ink and equipment to the establishment to be able to print the incoming and reply messages as well as photo attachments
Some establishments receive the messages via the kiosk or in-cell devices. We are charged a service fee for each message received on the kiosk/in-cell device
We provide the software to enable the service as well as a friendly support team and we are always developing and enhancing our websites
Do the prisoners have to pay for the emails?
The email a prisoner service is completely free of charge to the prisoners and the prisons
How do I Sign Up?
Go to www.emailaprisoner.com, click 'Sign Up' and follow the prompts. You will receive an activation link via email, you need to active your account before you are able to send a message
How do I add credit to my account?
Once you are logged in, click on the 'Buy Credit' under 'Menu'
Enter the amount you wish to credit (min amount £5.00 if using a credit/debit card)*. Select the option 'credit/debit card' check your address details and click 'Add credit to account'. You will be taken to a secure page to enter your card details and confirm or cancel the transaction. *You may credit a lesser amount if you are paying by Cheque or Postal Order.
Click on 'Overseas payment' and the amount you wish to credit your account, record the reference number and the bank paying in details which is shown and then, go to your bank and make the payment into our account using the details provided and also, quoting the reference number.
If you are not able to add credit to your account using a debit or credit card or you wish to add less that £5, then you can do so by sending a cheque or postal order in the post. We are also able to accept cash however we strongly advise only sending cash if you cannot use any other method and ONLY by recorded delivery.
To pay by any of these methods simply go to 'Buy Credit' enter the amount you wish of credit, select 'postal order/cheque/cash' and click 'Add credit to account'. You will then be provided with a reference number. You must include this number, your name and address when you send your payment. Please make all cheques and Postal Orders payable to Unilink Technology Services and send to:
Unilink Technology Services
Po Box 1288
Email a Prisoner will not charge you any processing fee so if you add £10 to your account then you will get the full £10. Paying by one of these methods there is no minimum amount that you can add to your account.
How do I change my email address?
If you need to change your email address please send an email to email@example.com stating the email address currently registered with the system and the email address you would like to change it to. This email must come from the old email address or we will not be able to make the change.
How do I change my password?
To change your password first log into your account and then select the "Change Password" option from the top left-hand side. On this page you will be able to enter your new password
How do I edit/check my recipient's information?
Click 'My recipients' select 'edit' change the location and/or prison number and 'save changes'
We do not hold any information regarding recipients whereabouts. If your recipient has been transferred to a new location, you will need to change the details on your account. Please see above for instructions
How do I add my recipient?
Go to ‘My Recipients’ on the menu, ‘Add New Recipient’ by entering their details in the columns provided. Click ‘Add Recipient’ to save their details.
I am having problems logging in, what should I do?
If you are having problems logging on to your account, it may be because you computer has picked up cookies which may cause our website not to work properly, on your computer. This is due to our website being secure.
Try logging out of your Internet browser and then log straight into your email a prisoner account once you have re-opened your browser. If that does not work try giving your computer a quick scan for viruses/cookies and then try logging back in to our site again. If you are still having problems, contact our support helpdesk, to assist you further
The email I have sent to my recipient was late/was not delivered, why is this?
The email a prisoner system operates in such a way that once you press "Send", the message(s) are delivered directly to the chosen location. They are sent in a batch, once daily. They do not come to us and we forward them on – they go directly to the prison. Thereafter, we are still at the prisons'/officers mercy (as with all correspondence) how quickly the messages are given to the prisoners. Also, some establishments do not deliver emails at the weekend or Bank Holidays. If you are aware that the emails have not been delivered or are delivered later than 2 working days please contact the support helpdesk
I wish to contact a prisoner but do not know where they are and what their prison number is, can you assist?
Due to Data Protection we do not hold any information about prisoners. You can try locating someone in prison or obtaining a prisoners number by going to the Prison Service Website, looking under "Location Services"
Can I cancel an email once it has been sent?
We are afraid that we cannot cancel an email if you have already sent it because once you press "Send", the message(s) are delivered directly to the prison of choice, within minutes. They do not come to us and we forward them on – they go directly to the prison
Can I book a visit?
You cannot book visits via emailaprisoner service, you must call the prison you wish to visit, directly
Can the prisoner see my address and email address?
All ingoing prisoner correspondence, emails and letters alike, must have the sender's address clearly visible, therefore we automatically add those details to your message when it is sent. However, your email address will not be publicised on any of the emails, which you send
Can I send attachments?
Customers of email a prisoner service are unable to send attachments via the service. (Photo attachments are available in many establishments)
Can I send photos?
You are able to upload a maximum of 4 photos per message printed on one A4 sheet (3x5), photo cost 30p per image. Images will be printed along with your message and may be monochrome only depending on the equipment available at the establishment. Images containing inappropriate material will be rejected and you will not be refunded. We reserve the right to change the pricing of attachments at any time
How can I cancel my account?
If you wish to cancel your account at any time, please email the support help desk, requesting for your account to be cancelled.
Can I get a refund?
Please check our terms and conditions for information in relation to a refund
How Does the Reply Service Work?
Log into your emailaprisoner account, click ‘write new message’ and if you would like a response from your recipient you will need to tick the ‘reply’ box just above the text box.
This generates a bar coded blank sheet, which is given to your recipient with your message after the censoring process.
Your recipient physically writes on the reply sheet and returns this to the officer in charge.
The message will be censored, scanned and placed into your emailaprisoner ‘inbox’. We will notify you via email to inform you that you have received a response from your loved one.
There is not a time limitation on when your recipient uses the reply sheet. However, should your recipient be relocated to an establishment that does not facilitate the reply service, they would be unable to use the reply sheet.
If the prison is using the kiosk for emailaprisoner, as long as they are operating the reply service, there will be an instant reply option on the kiosk. Your recipient can also come back to reply at a later date.
Please check our 'locations' page to see if the establishment you are writing to facilitates the reply service.
How secure is my www.emailaprisoner.com account?
If you are logged in to your account but the account remains inactive for 4 hours, you will be automatically logged out.
If you attempt to log in to your account 5 times with an incorrect password, you will be locked out for 60 minutes. You can lift the block on your account immediately by clicking on the link we will send in an automated email when your account is locked.
If you have forgotten your password, you can click on ‘Forgotten Password’ and you will receive an email with a password reset link.
Will my neatPhone number work when I am overseas?
The neatPhone service can only be set up on a UK registered mobile phone. You are unable to set up this service from an overseas mobile number
Your neatPhone number will only work when you are in the UK, if your recipient calls the neatPhone number while you are out of the country it will not connect