Understanding Prison Adjudications: Procedure and Consequences

Prison Info

Understanding prison adjudications in the UK is imperative for inmates, their families, support groups, and even legal professionals. It’s crucial to understand the procedure, it’s significance, and the potential consequences. To make it easier, the process has been broken down into sections below.

The Procedure:

  1. Report and Charge:— The first step in a prison adjudication is the report. If an inmate allegedly breaches prison rules, a prison officer will submit a report with details of the alleged incident. The prisoner will receive a written statement of charge. The prisoner must be informed within 48 hours of the offense being discovered.
  2. Pre-Hearing:— The second step involves the convening of a pre-hearing review. This must be convened within three days, excluding weekends and public holidays. The pre-hearing will determine whether the case can be dealt with at a prison level, or whether it necessitates an Independent Adjudicator or an investigation by the police.
  3. Hearing: — If the case remains within prison jurisdiction, a hearing will be convened within 28 days of the alleged offence being reported. The prisoner, prison officer who reported the alleged offense, and witnesses will attend the hearing.
  4. Decision and Punishment: — Based on the evidence, the presiding governor will make a decision. If found guilty, the governor may impose a range of punishments, as permissible under prison law.

The Consequences:

Upon validation of the charges, there are several possible outcomes, including:

  • Forfeiture of Privileges: — This can include loss of visitors, reduction in earnings, loss of canteen, and loss of television for a specified period.
  • Cellular Confinement: — The prisoner may be segregated from other prisoners, and made to spend up to 21 days in a confined cell.
  • Additional Days: — The Adjudicator can add additional days onto the prisoner’s sentence. However, this requires approval from the Secretary of State through an Independent Adjudicator.
  • Referral to Police: — In severe cases, the matter may be referred to the police and may form part of a new criminal prosecution.

Prison adjudications are pivotal within the UK prison system and knowing how it operates can assist in navigating the system.

Appealing a Decision:

If a prisoner is unsatisfied with the decision taken by the governor or an independent adjudicator, they have the right to appeal to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman within 21 days from the date the decision was taken.

It’s recommended to seek appropriate legal advice before launching an appeal as the process can often be complex and confusing to those not versed in prison law.

Remember, ignorance isn’t a defense. So, it’s always good to be well informed about prison adjudications, their procedures, and consequences.

A Final Word:

Navigating the intricacies of prison law can be complex, but understanding the adjudication process and its potential consequences is a crucial first step. By understanding the process, potential penalties, and avenues for appeal, prisoners and their families can be better equipped to navigate the prison system, advocate for their rights, and promote fair treatment within the penal system.

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