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Prisoners communicate online with families/friends during Covid-19 crisis

Prisoners in all private and public prisons and secure establishments in the United Kingdom, including Jersey and Guernsey and two prisons in Northern Ireland, are keeping in touch with friends and family via secure messages during the Covid-19 crisis.

With all personal visits to prisoners suspended, email a prisoner (EMAP) service provides the easy and cost-effective way to stay in touch with loved ones behind bars.

The email a prisoner service (EMAP) and Secure Payment Services (SPS) are provided by Unilink Technology Services, part of The Unilink Group.

Francis Toye, CEO of Unilink said “It is vital to provide every possible means to connect prisoners and their loved ones. Especially at challenging times like these where the world is fighting the threat of Coronavirus and physical distancing is necessary. Prison time is tough for friends and families as well as inmates and I am really proud that Unilink is helping in this way to make prisons work better”.

Staying in touch with family and friends helps to maintain personal relationships and contributes to mental wellbeing. This helps prisoners cope with confinement and improves their chances of rehabilitation.

To use the service, sign up on from any computer, laptop or smart device.

100% of the prisons in the UK use the service already helping people to stay in touch with their loved ones while serving a sentence in a secure establishment.

This service is a lifeline, especially when visiting is not possible. So much quicker than snail mail. We also love the reply service!” Elizabeth

Thank you to all the staff at EMAP. You provide a wonderful service. You make a very difficult situation less complicated, over the period that I have been using your service, you have demonstrated and established a level of trust that I appreciate. Again, thanks and best wishes.” Name Withheld

The email a prisoner service has made a huge difference to our prisoners and in their maintaining family ties. Prisoners that don’t receive mail easily, for example with busy families or those with overseas families are now able to communicate much more freely, they are noticing a huge difference, and are very grateful to the service.” HMP Drake Hall

EMAP uses secure, sophisticated system which allows friends and family members to write an email and send it to the establishment. The message is printed inside the prison and included in the daily mail delivery. In select establishments messages are sent directly to the kiosk, for the recipient to read. The process is safe, quick and costs 40p per message. Certain establishments have the option to send a reply from the prisoner for which there is an extra charge of 25p. Photo attachments are also available.

Unilink Technology Services also enables sending money to prisoners securely.

SPS allows friends and families to transfer funds in a safer, faster, secure way from any computer, laptop or smart device to the recipient within participating locations.

Replacing physical cheques, postal orders and cash with electronic payments avoids cash handling for customers and prison staff and reduces the risk of spreading the Coronavirus.

I would just like to thank you for the excellent way in which you have handled payments made by myself to my son whilst he was at HMP XXX. Your system is cheaper than using Postal Orders and is also a much quicker and safer way of sending money to inmates. Thank you once again.” Name withheld

Here at HMP Parc we have nothing but positive feedback for the secure payments service. Since it was introduced, our needs and preferences have all been adhered to and processes have been adapted to suit us. If there is ever a query I know that I can just email Sam and she will get straight back to me.” HMP Parc

It takes very little time to process compared with postal cash or visitors’ cash, the funds transfer is securely deposited directly into the Trust bank account, so there is no physical cash to count and to secure onsite; less cash onsite means less banking trips and cash collection, no issues with uncleared funds; counterfeit bills, bounced cheques, or missing cash / postal orders / cheques.” Assistant Director, HMP Thameside

Unilink Technology Services
Email a Prisoner
PO Box 1288
BS39 5YJ

Tel: 0333 370 6550
Fax: 0844 873 3114

Press and Media:
For press enquiries at Unilink email

About UTS

Unilink Technology Services (UTS), part of The Unilink Group, was founded in 2006 by Derek Jones, who recognised the need and importance of communication with the “outside world” while incarcerated himself.
Following release, he started Email-a-prisoner (EMAP) secure messaging service from friends and families to inmates, detainees, or any individual held in secure facilities.
Secure payment service (SPS) enables sending money to prisoners securely.
In 2015 UTS has won the Best Citisen App and the overall winner of Digital Leaders 100 Awards and in 2016 UTS won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.
All prisons in England and Wales are using EMAP, as well as, The National Probation Service in England and Wales. Samaritans and other support organisation also use the service.
UTS operates in the UK, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

About Unilink

With over 25 years’ experience in the criminal justice sector, Unilink is a world leader in probation and community corrections software applications, as well as prisoner self-service, offender management and online services for the friends and family of prisoners.

Unilink’s integrated suite of products provide a complete digital solution, enabling efficient management of offenders in probation, prisons and community, as well as providing digital services to offenders. Underpinned by biometrics it integrates seamlessly to deliver security, efficiency and value – while being independently proven to help prisoners with their rehabilitation.
Unlinks’ solutions and services are used in the UK, across Europe, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the National Probation Service in the UK.


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For enquiries and support on Email a Prisoner, Secure Payment Services, Video Sessions, neatPhone and Patient Mail, contact