Guide to Changing Prisons: Procedures & What to Expect

Prison Info

Understanding the procedures, expectations, and the process of changing prisons in the United Kingdom can greatly ease the transition for prisoners and concerned family members alike. This guide will take you through the key points.

Reason for prison transfers

A prisoner may be transferred from one prison to another for several reasons. These can include but not be limited to overcrowding, classification changes, disciplinary measures, and prisoner requests.

The conditions for a transfer

There are certain conditions that need to be met for a prisoner to be eligible for transfer. This includes good behaviour, absence of pending disciplinary actions, and suitability for the classified level of the requested prison.

The process of transferring a prisoner

  1. Request Submission: The process often begins with the prisoner or concerned party requesting a transfer.
  2. Approval: The relevant authorities will validate the request and determine the appropriate course of action.
  3. Transfer: Once approved, the prison authorities will schedule and conduct the transfer.

What to expect during a transfer

Prison transfers in the UK are surrounded by a level of uncertainty. However, prisoners can expect:

  • Cancellation or rescheduling: Due to the volatile nature of the prison environment, scheduled transfers can be cancelled or moved to a different date.
  • Long Journey: Depending on the distance between the origin and destination prison, the trip can be long and tiring.
  • Different Environment: Each prison has its unique set of rules, routines, and environment. It may take time to adjust to these changes.

Legal representation

If a prisoner wishes to contest a transfer decision or make a request for transfer, it’s highly advised to seek legal representation. Solicitors experienced in prison law can guide prisoners through their rights, the request submission process, and represent them in hearings if necessary.


Changing prisons can be a challenge but a good understanding of the procedure, having clear expectations, and seeking the right legal support can make the process more bearable. This guide’s information should help anyone faced with the experience navigate the process confidently and with reduced anxiety.

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