Guide to Your First Night in Prison

Prison Info

Welcome to your first night in prison – a guide

This resource aims to prepare you for your initial experience in a UK prison. Understanding what to expect can prove reassuring and help to lessen any anxiety you may be feeling.

Arriving at the prison
Upon arriving, prison staff will explain the initial process. This includes a comprehensive search process, which searches for prohibited items.

Induction process
Every prison has an induction process to help familiarize you with the prison routines, rules, and available services.

Cell allocation
You will be assigned a cell. Depending on the institution, this may be a shared or individual cell. You’re allowed to personalise it within limits.

Rights and responsibilities
You are entitled to specific rights while in prison but are also subject to responsibilities and expected behaviours.

Prison routines
Understanding prison routines such as meals, lock-ups, and musters helps to streamline your prison life.

  • Meals: Served three times a day at fixed times.
  • Lock-ups: There are specific times prisoners must remain in their cells.
  • Musters: Roll call held at set times to count prisoners.

Visitation rights
You will be granted the right to receive visits from family and friends. Each prison has its own visitation rules and schedules.

Keeping in touch
Besides visits, you can keep in touch with loved ones via letters, emails, or telephone calls. There are procedures and limits for these.

Support and advice
There is a range of support and advice available to you during your time inside. Prisoners’ Advice Service and Samaritans are examples of these services.

Healthcare services
Prisons provide access to NHS healthcare facilities, covering both physical and mental health requirements. These services function similarly to the services outside.

Rehabilitative programmes
Rehabilitation is a crucial component of the UK’s prison system. Opportunities for education, skills training, and substance misuse programmes are part of the rehabilitative service.

Planning your release
Prisons have services to help you plan and prepare for your eventual release. This ensures you have a plan in place for life outside prison.

Useful contacts and resources
There are plenty of resources and contacts available to help you understand your rights, getting support, or reporting any problems you encounter.

This guide offers a glimpse into what to expect during your first night in a UK prison. It’s always important to seek help and advice when needed. You have the right to be treated fairly and with respect throughout your time inside.

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Is it cheaper to call a landline from prison?

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