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Has a family member or friend been arrested and imprisoned in Spain?

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Firstly, we strongly recommend that you contact the Consulate, if the prisoner hasn’t done so already, as well as a solicitor. It is important to receive legal advice and be well informed of the next steps. We can advise you on the next course of action and how to proceed depending on your individual circumstances. We can also provide you with translation services.

Here are some useful questions & answers regarding what to expect whilst the detainee’s case is being investigated and they are being held in a Spanish prison.

Can I contact the prisoner?

Contact is permitted by the following means:

  • MAIL: letters can be sent and received. They will be opened and inspected in front of the prisoner and must not include prohibited items including bracelets as they will be returned.
  • TELEPHONE: calls can be made by the inmate to authorised numbers but they cannot be received from outside the centre.
  • GLASS VISITS (Locutorio): once requested by the visitor and authorised by the prison, this visit is carried out in a booth with a glass panel between the visitor/s and the prisoner. Usually, one glass visit per week is allowed for 40 minutes, or 20 minutes twice per week.
  • OPEN VISITS (Vis a Vis): once requested by the prisoner in writing via an ‘instancia’ and authorised by the prison, this visit is carried out in an open room supervised by wardens. Some prisons also allow intimate and family visits in closed rooms without supervision. Depending on the prison, open visits are usually once per month for one hour.

Who can visit the prisoner?

Up to 4 relatives and/or friends are allowed (including children). Relatives must prove their kinship to the prisoner with official and original documentation, such as a birth certificate or extract obtained from your Registry Office or Consular Office, or a marriage certificate. Legal translations are not expected but original copies must be shown. In the case of common law partners, any kind of proof that you are a couple and maybe have lived together is necessary, such as joint tax declarations, utility bills or bank statements, etc.

What is the procedure for the first glass visit (locutorio)?

Firstly, you must appear at the communications department with your proof of kinship to the prisoner. All visitors must take their original Passport/ID as photocopies will not be accepted. You must arrive 45 minutes before the confirmed visit time.

How are the rest of the glass visits arranged?

You must make an appointment directly with the prison either via telephone or their website. You will be asked for the prisoners ‘NIS’ number which is made up of 10 digits and the ID/passport numbers of the visitors. Please check the prison’s website for more specific details about days and times for visits.

What can I take with me on the visit?

Visitors are only allowed to take certain necessary items such as those needed for babies. It is at the discretion of the prison if they allow other necessary items but money, food, alcohol, keys, telephones, etc. are prohibited. Please check the prison’s website to see what items are prohibited.

Can I send packages?

Yes, you can. If you would like to send items of clothing you must check the prison’s website for specific details as there may be a maximum of each item of clothing. Depending on the prison, there is a maximum of packages that can be sent every month and what they can weigh, measure, etc. Usually, the weight is 5kg and the size 45cm width x 45cm height x 45cm depth. These packages must be sent by a person that has been authorised by the prisoner.

Can I deposit money for the prisoner?

Yes, with certain limits. Only visitors / family members who have been authorised to communicate with the prisoner and lawyers are allowed to deposit money for the prisoner. Depending on the prison, this can only be done a maximum of twice per month and it will be deposited onto the prisoner’s card one day per week. There isn’t usually a maximum amount that can be deposited but the prisoner will only have access to 100 euros per week to spend in the store (Economato). Please check with the prison for details of where to deposit the money as it can be done in person or via bank transfer.

What if we have a family emergency?

In the case of a family emergency such as a death, birth of a child, or serious illness of a close family member, then the prisoner can request permission to leave the prison to make an emergency trip. Depending on whether the prisoner is on remand or has already been sentenced, then the request must be submitted to either the judge at the corresponding court where the case sits or the Prison Judge (Juez de Vigilancia Penitenciaria). We, as lawyers, can assist you with this and any documentation the judge may need to support your request.

Please bear in mind that the information above is for general use. For specific details about the rules of the prison such as visitation days and times, and permitted and prohibited items, please check the prison’s website.

For accurate advice and guidance, we strongly recommend that you book an appointment with an experienced lawyer.

For further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Pellicer & Heredia on +34 965 480 737 or email us at info@pellicerheredia.com.

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