See the index below for information including where to find out more about prisons and legal systems around the world. Try option 1 first.
1) For information on what help is available from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office when a British citizen is arrested overseas (which includes a ‘Prisoner Information Pack’ for most countries), visit the FCO website and choose your country from the drop-down menu.
If you are unable to find a particular Prison Information Pack or have any problems accessing this information, please contact us.
2) For information about European criminal justice systems, visit the Fair Trials website.
3) For country human rights reports, including some prison information, visit the USA Department of State website.
- The Albanian General Directorate of Prisons website is in Albanian but has a map of prisons (click to find addresses)
- The UK in Argentina website (part of the British Foreign Office) has a list of local lawyers.
- The website of the Department for Correctional Services in South Australia has information about all prisons in that territory.
- The Department of Corrective Services in New South Wales provides details about correctional centres in NSW.
- The website of the Victorian Department of Justice has a section about prisons, including visiting information and prison profiles.
- The Queensland Corrective Services has a Family and Friends section on their website with prison locations, visiting regulations and other useful information.
- The website of the Department of Justice for the Northern Territory gives information about the Darwin Correctional Centre and the Alice Springs Correctional Centre.
- The website of the Tasmanian Prison Service offers information for family, friends and children of prisoners.
- The Department of Corrective Services in Western Australia provides information about all prisons in the territory.
Other external links:
- The Austrian Ministry of Justice has webpages (in German) with a list of prisons across the country.
- The website of the Belgian Ministry of Justice (in French) has addresses for all prisons in that country.
- Fair Trials has produced information on being Arrested in Belgium.
- Fair Trials has produced information on being Arrested in Bulgaria.
Prisoners Abroad has produced a factsheet with information on the rules concerning deportation from Canada.
- Canada: Deportation law (file size: 130KB)
- The website of the Canadian Correctional Service has information on all federal institutions.
China (including Hong Kong)
- The website www.china.org.cn has a large section devoted to China’s judiciary. It explains the trial system, the lawyer system, and how the legal assistance programme works. There are also details about the legal systems in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
- The website of the Hong Kong Correctional Services has lots of information (in English) about each individual institution and their work in rehabilitating prisoners.
- The Prison Service of the Czech Republic has an English-language website with basic information about the service, plus some information about each of the prisons in the country.
- The website of the Danish Prison and Probation Service has lots of useful information in English.
For Dubai, please see the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Prisoners Abroad has produced a factsheet with information on prisons in Ecuador.
- Ecuador: General prison information (file size: 119KB)
- Fair Trials has produced information on being Arrested in Estonia
- Fair Trials has produced information on being Arrested in Finland.
- To find an address for a prison in France you can use the website of the French Ministry of Justice. Although the site is in French, you can click on the map to find prison details for every establishment in the country.
- Fair Trials has produced information on being Arrested in France.
- This document (pdf link; file size: 181 KB) lists all prison addresses for the whole of Germany. [The document is from the website of Nordrhein-Westfalen, a German State (Land).]
- Fair Trials has produced information on being Arrested in Germany.
- The German Ministry of Justice website has an English translation of the Criminal Code.
- Fair Trials has produced information about being Arrested in Greece.
- Fair Trials has published information on being Arrested in Hungary
- The website of the Irish Prison Service gives details about all prisons in the country, including directions to each prison.
- Fair Trials has published information on being Arrested in Ireland.
- The Law Society of Ireland allows you to search for firms of solicitors by name or location.
- The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is a Christian organisation whose members visit prisons in Ireland.
- Fair Trials has produced information on being Arrested in Italy.
- The website of the Department of Correctional Services has a visiting form which you can download and complete if you wish to visit a friend or relative held in Jamaica.
- Fair Trials has produced information on being Arrested in Lithuania
- It is possible to find addresses for all Dutch prisons on the website of the Dutch Prison Service. Although the site is in Dutch, if you click on the prison name you will be taken to a page giving address details. Two sorts of address are usually given: Bezoekadres is the actual address for visiting, whilst Postadres is the postal address you should use for all mail.
- Fair Trials has published information about being Arrested in The Netherlands.
- The website of the Department of Corrections in New Zealand offers links to pages about every prison in the country.
- Fair Trials has published information on being Arrested in Poland.
- The website of the Portuguese Prison Service has some information about each establishment in the country, including postal address and a map of its location. The site is entirely in Portuguese. However, it is possible to find the prison information by first clicking on the ‘Estabelecimentos Prisionais’ link on the left-hand side, then the appropriate area of the country, and finally the individual prison.
- Fair Trials has produced information about being Arrested in Portugal.
- The website of the Singapore Prison Service has lots of information, including details about the Changi Prison redevelopment and the programmes they run in their prisons.
The website of the South African Department of Correctional Services has lots of information. In particular, you can view the South African ‘Correctional Services Act’ under the legislation section of the site.
Prisoners Abroad has the following factsheet explaining the basics of the Spanish system for early release:
- Spain: Legal system (release) (file size: 316KB)
Useful external links:
- The website of the Spanish Ministry of the Interior has a map and the addresses of all prisons (centros penitenciarios) in Spain (except Catalonia). Although the website is in Spanish, as long as you know the area of the prison you are trying to locate it is possible to find the address. ‘Nombre’ = name of prison / ‘Tipo’ = type of facility.
- The website of the Spanish Ministry of the Interior has also produced two guides to the Spanish prison system which have been translated into English: Prison Step by Step and The Spanish Prison System
- For prison addresses in Catalonia, please use this website. Although it is in Catalan, if you know the name of the prison it is possible to find the address.
- Fair Trials has produced information about being Arrested in Spain.
- The Sweden Prison and Probation Service has lots of information, particularly concerning prison, remand and treatment programmes.
Prisoners Abroad has a factsheet on the legal system of the country, as well as information on amnesties and pardons. We have also compiled a guide for visitors to Bangkwang Central Prison.
- Thailand: Legal System (File size: 98KB)
- Thailand: Amnesties and Pardons (File size: 84KB)
- Thailand: Bankwang Central Prison – A guide for visitors (File size: 74KB)
Trinidad and Tobago
We have a factsheet on the legal system of the country:
- Trinidad – Legal system (File size: 138KB)
Useful external links:
- The website of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service has some information about the islands’ prisons and the programmes on offer to prisoners.
United Arab Emirates
- Fair Trials has compiled a list of pharmaceutical substances which are prohibited in the UAE. This information is especially useful for people planning a visit to the country, or even to people who will be stopping off during an international flight.
- Abu Dhabi has a legal website with information on criminal proceedings.
- Dubai Police have some information about visiting inmates detained at Dubai police station.
Prisoners Abroad has two factsheets on the USA. One describes the criminal justice system which operates in the federal system. The other is intended for family and friends of people detained there, and describes the differences between the state and the federal system as well as offering general advice regarding visits, letters, telephone calls and sending money.
- USA: Criminal justice system (federal system) (File size: 107 KB)
- USA: Information for family and friends of those detained in the USA (File size: 96 KB)
Useful external links:
- For details about federal prisons or federal detainees, you can use the website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. For information about individual state prisons, you should search for the relevant state’s Department of Corrections. For more information about the difference between the federal and state systems, please read the Prisoners Abroad factsheet (above).
- The website of the US Department of Justice, gives useful and detailed information about transfer from the USA – it mainly applies to the federal system, but the information is also useful for detainees in the state system. For more information about transferring out of the state system please see this page on the website of the Department of Justice.
- On the website of the American Civil Liberties Union there are a number of “Know Your Rights” factsheets for prisoners, covering subjects such as medical issues and the legal rights of disabled prisoners.
- Fair Trials has produced information on being Arrested in the USA.
- The NGO Venezuelan Prison Observatory has a map showing some prison authorities in the country. Select Sistema Penitenciario, and then the appropriate region from the list, to see the authority and number of people in prison.