How to become an Official Prison Visitor

  1. Following initial enquiries made via, a prospective applicant’s contact details will be passed to the relevant NAOPV Regional Secretary, who will arrange an informal discussion to discuss expectations and provide further details.
  2. The applicant will complete an application form and return it to the Regional Secretary, who will forward it to the Managing Chaplain of the most suitable prison.
  3. The Managing Chaplain will arrange for an interview with the applicant and seek references.
  4. If the candidate is deemed suitable for appointment, the security process will be initiated. Upon successful security clearance, an appointment will be made by the Governor.

Most OPVs are aged between 21 and 70, but there some is flexibility, and all appointments are at the discretion of the prison’s Governor.

The need for Official Prison Visitors is clear: they are a prisoner’s window to the outside world. The human qualities that are essential for an OPV are patience, understanding, empathy and a sense of humour.

The greatest gift you had given me is the knowledge to look at the bigger picture in all aspects of life and for that I am grateful – extremely and utterly.— (Sadiq)


For a nominal annual subscription (currently £10), members:

  • Become part of a collegiate and supportive group of OPVs across the country, where many prisons have an established NAOPV Branch
  • Have the support and advice of a Regional Secretary
  • Have access to a high-quality annual conference and AGM
  • Receive regular newsletters and email information
  • Have access to the Members’ link on the NAOPV website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Food for Thought, HM Prison Lewes, 2018

Back Together, HM Prison & Young Offender Institution Low Newton, 2018