When you first enter a prison, adjusting to the regime and understanding the rules may take some time. To assist you in getting started, here is some information about prison rules and jargon. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and you’ll find more details in your induction book. The prison rules are designed to maintain order and ensure the safety of everyone within the facility.
Respect: The prison has a zero-tolerance policy towards violence and poor behavior. It is essential to treat all prisoners and staff with respect, irrespective of their individual characteristics.
No Smoking: Smoking is only allowed in your cell; smoking on the landings is prohibited.
Proper Attire: When you leave your cell, make sure you are fully dressed and wearing shoes or trainers.
No Borrowing: Avoid borrowing tobacco or snacks from other prisoners, as it could lead to trouble and debts that may result in threats or intimidation.
No Drugs or Alcohol: The possession and use of any drugs or alcohol, except those prescribed by healthcare, are strictly forbidden. Regular searching and testing are conducted to enforce this rule.
Association Time: ‘Association’ is the period when you are allowed out of your cell. Two bells will signal the end of association, and you must return to your cell promptly.
Emergency Use Only: Use your cell call bell only for emergencies.
Respectful Address: Address prison officers and Governors by their surname (e.g., Mr./Mrs. Smith). Agency staff may introduce themselves by their first name, which you can use to address them.
Boss/Gov: What male prison staff are referred to if their names are not known.
Miss: What female prison staff are called if their names are not known.
Padmate: The person you share your cell with.
HDC (Home Detention Curfew): The date you could be released on tag if the prison agrees it is suitable.
ARD (Automatic Release Date): The date you are scheduled for release, usually halfway through your sentence.
Meds: Short for medication.
Assoc: Abbreviation for association time.
IMB (Independent Monitoring Board): A group of people who monitor daily life in prison to ensure fair treatment. You can request to see the IMB by applying to them.
General App: Short for general application, a form available in all wing offices to request support or make general requests to the prison.
Comp 1: Complaints forms, also available in any wing office.
OMU (Offender Management Unit): The team of offender supervisors and probation staff within the prison.
OS (Offender Supervisor): Your allocated person in the OMU.
OM (Offender Manager): Your outside probation officer.
Family Visits: Special visits for families, with extra activities during school holidays. Apply for these visits in advance.
Prison Rules and Disciplinary Action:
In addition to criminal law, prisons have their own set of rules, which may lead to disciplinary action if violated. These rules are determined by the Corrections Act, Corrections Regulations, Directors’ Instructions, and local operating procedures. You should receive information about these rules upon admission. If not, you can request a copy of the rules or the induction booklet containing them.
The prison regulations state that offenses may include:
(a) Assaulting or threatening another person. (b) Acting in a disruptive, abusive, offensive, racist, discriminatory, or indecent manner. (c) Engaging in gambling. (d) Trafficking in unauthorised articles or substances. (e) Possessing an unauthorised article or substance, unless it has been issued or authorised. (f) Using alcohol, drugs, or substances unlawfully. (g) Smoking in unapproved areas. (h) Misusing telephones or communication devices. (i) Misusing computers or electronic equipment. (j) Sending or receiving letters or parcels containing threatening, indecent, offensive, or unauthorised material. (k) Acting in a way detrimental to prison property. (l) Being in a place where not permitted or leaving a required area without permission. (m) Working carelessly or negligently. (n) Disobeying a lawful order, direction, or instruction of an officer. (o) Attempting any of the above.
It’s important to remember that the catch-all rule of “security and good order and management of the prison” means that any directive given by prison staff is considered a rule. If you wish to challenge the prison on its laws, rules, or policies, you should be familiar with them and have a copy on hand.
You can often find these documents in the prison library or on the prisoner computer network. They are updated regularly, so make sure to request an up-to-date copy. If staff members do not provide the required documents, you can file a complaint with a Prison Manager through the Governor’s Request system.
Remember, adhering to the prison rules will help create a safer and more manageable environment for everyone.
Prison Service Instructions (PSIs)
Prison Service Instructions (PSIs) are comprehensive documents that outline the rules, regulations, and guidelines governing the operations of prisons. These instructions cover a wide range of topics and play a crucial role in maintaining order and ensuring the proper functioning of correctional facilities. Each PSI is assigned an expiry date, but in practice, if a policy expires, it will remain in effect until it is officially canceled or replaced.
Here are some examples of useful PSIs:
PSI 13/2015 – Release on Temporary Licence: This instruction details the procedures and criteria for allowing prisoners to be temporarily released from custody for specific reasons, such as employment or family visits, under certain conditions.
PSI 30/2013 – Incentives and Earned Privileges: This PSI sets out the system of incentives and privileges that prisoners can earn through good behavior and engagement in positive activities.
PSI 40/2011 – Categorisation and Recategorisation of Adult Male Prisoners: This instruction outlines the process of categorizing and re-categorizing adult male prisoners based on risk assessment and other factors.
PSI 47/2011 – Prisoner Discipline Procedures: This PSI establishes the procedures for dealing with disciplinary matters within the prison setting, including misconduct and rule violations.
PSI 49/2011 – Prisoner Communication Services: This instruction covers the rules and provisions for prisoner communication, including postal services, telephone calls, and visits.
PSI 22/2015 – Generic Parole Process for Indeterminate and Determinate Sentenced Prisoners: This PSI outlines the parole process for prisoners serving both indeterminate and determinate sentences, explaining the criteria and considerations for parole eligibility.
PSIs are critical in ensuring that prisons operate in a consistent and effective manner, promoting safety and rehabilitation for both prisoners and staff. They serve as essential references for prison staff, administrators, and inmates, fostering a structured and orderly environment within correctional facilities. As the correctional system evolves, PSIs are periodically updated, reflecting changes in legislation, best practices, and evolving approaches to inmate management and rehabilitation.
Prison Service Orders (PSOs)
Prison Service Orders (PSOs) are an integral part of the administrative framework governing the UK prison system. These orders are authoritative instructions issued by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to guide and direct the operations of prisons and related establishments. PSOs provide detailed guidance on specific policies, procedures, and practices, ensuring uniformity and consistency in the management of correctional facilities. These orders cover a diverse range of topics, including security protocols, offender healthcare, staff recruitment and training, offender rehabilitation programs, and more. PSOs are regularly updated to reflect changes in legislation, best practices, and evolving priorities within the prison service, ensuring that prisons operate efficiently, safely, and in line with the overarching principles of justice and rehabilitation.
The Prison Rules 1999
The Prison Rules 1999 is a crucial legal document that sets out the regulations and guidelines for the management and operation of prisons in the United Kingdom. Enacted under the Prison Act 1952, these rules aim to ensure the safe, secure, and humane treatment of prisoners, as well as to maintain order and discipline within correctional facilities. The Prison Rules 1999 cover a wide range of aspects concerning prisoner welfare, daily routines, health care, visits, correspondence, discipline, and security measures. By providing a comprehensive framework for prison management, these rules play a vital role in upholding the rights of prisoners while also ensuring the safety and security of staff and the public.