How to get a prison transfer
How to get a prison transfer
How to Get a Prison Transfer, Prison transfers can occur for various reasons during your time in prison. You might be moved to a facility closer to your anticipated release location, or due to a re-grading from a Category B to a Category C prisoner. Additionally, you might request a transfer to be closer to family and friends or for other personal reasons. However, it’s important to note that prisoners usually have little say in the matter when it comes to transfers.
Sometimes transfers are planned well in advance, but often you’ll only find out about it when you’re summoned to the wing office and instructed to pack your belongings quickly. If you’re moving from one wing to another within the same prison, there won’t be significant changes except for getting used to your new cellmate and wing officers.
On the other hand, if you’re moving to a different prison, you’ll be checked by your “old” prison to ensure you’re not taking anything that’s not officially recorded as being in your possession. Possessions like borrowed items from your cellmate might be taken and stored by the prison.
Can a Prisoner Request a Transfer?
Under Section 12 of the Prison Act 1952, a prisoner can be lawfully confined to any prison, and they do not have the legal right to request a specific prison for serving their sentence or be transferred to a facility of their choice. However, a prisoner may apply to be transferred to a different prison, and the decision to grant this request is usually at the discretion of the prison governor. The prisoner can make a transfer request through the prison request system or by using a form provided by the Prison Service. A response to the application is typically given within seven days, but transfer requests are usually only considered after the prisoner has served a few months at their current facility.
Prison Location Policy
Although prisoners do not have a legal right to transfer, the Prison Service has a location policy that aims to facilitate contact between prisoners and their families and minimize the adverse effects of separating prisoners from society. The prison authorities also have an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of prisoners, which may include transferring a prisoner to another location if they are experiencing bullying or harassment from other inmates. These factors may influence the governor’s decision, but ultimately, it remains within their discretion.
Transfer Refusal and Appeals
If a prisoner’s transfer application is denied, they have the right to appeal the decision through the prison complaints system. The prison must respond to the appeal within six weeks of receiving it. If the prisoner remains dissatisfied with the response, they or someone on their behalf, with their permission, may write to the Prison and Probation Ombudsman. This letter must be sent within one month of receiving the refusal or an unsatisfactory response from the Prison Service.
Transfers Without Informing Family
When a prisoner is granted a transfer, they are entitled to send a free letter to one person who visits them. Depending on the prison governor’s discretion, they may also be granted an additional free letter and/or a free phone call. Category A prisoners, who are often transferred for security reasons, may not be informed of the move or may receive very short notice. In such cases, prisoners may leave details with their former prison regarding whom to contact and inform of their move, and the prison officials will handle the communication.
Family members who are not informed of a prisoner’s transfer can reach out to the allocations unit of the prison the prisoner has left to inquire about the transfer. Alternatively, they can contact the Prisoner Location Service in Birmingham and provide detailed information about the prisoner to obtain their whereabouts. The Prisoner Location Service may disclose this information to the enquiring relative with the prisoner’s consent, typically within 3-4 weeks.
In some cases, a prisoner detained far from their home may be allowed to save up their prison visits and apply for a temporary transfer to a local prison, usually for up to 28 days. The availability of places at the local prison and the governor’s decision will determine whether this temporary transfer is granted. These saved up visits can often be taken during the temporary transfer period, allowing families to avoid traveling long distances for visits.