A prison minister (formerly termed a 'visiting minister') is a priest or minister of a recognised religious denomination appointed by the Home Office to a specific institution under the Prison Act 1952 to perform duties of a religious nature inside that particular institution. Quaker prison ministers are included in this definition.
Prison visitors are appointed by the Home Office on the recommendation of the prison governor to befriend a prisoner who has requested visits. Prison visitors have no duties of a specifically religious character. It is important that they are not confused with the Board of Visitors, who have a quite different function.
'Quaker prison chaplain' is the term used in Scotland in place of 'Quaker prison minister'. In Scotland, following notification from an area meeting of the name of a Friend appointed as a Quaker prison chaplain, General Meeting for Scotland is responsible for providing this name to the governors of all prison establishments in the area meeting area. These Friends then volunteer to serve on a prison chaplaincy team by directly contacting the prison chaplain. To exercise their pastoral responsibility, Quaker prison chaplains in Scotland have to operate in liaison with the official prison chaplaincy team members.