What items are prisoners not allowed to have?

What items are prisoners not allowed to have

What items are prisoners not allowed to have? When it comes to life behind bars, UK prisons maintain strict regulations about what items prisoners are allowed to possess. Understanding these restrictions is crucial for both inmates and their loved ones. This comprehensive guide will delve into the various categories of prohibited items in UK prisons, ensuring clarity and compliance with the rules.

Introduction to Prison Regulations

UK prisons are governed by stringent rules to ensure safety, security, and order within the facility. These regulations extend to the personal belongings of prisoners, with a clear list of items that are strictly forbidden. Let’s explore these prohibited items in detail.

Communication Devices

  1. Mobile Phones and Smartphones: Unmonitored communication poses a significant security risk, making mobile phones and smartphones strictly prohibited.

  2. Internet-Enabled Devices: Any device capable of accessing the internet, including tablets and laptops, is not allowed unless specifically provided by the prison for educational purposes.

  3. Cameras and Recording Equipment: To protect the privacy of inmates and staff, cameras and recording devices are banned.

Weapons and Hazardous Items

  1. Sharp Objects: Items like knives, scissors, and razors (unless provided by the prison) are banned due to their potential use as weapons.

  2. Tools: Screwdrivers, hammers, and other tools could be used for escape attempts or as weapons, making them strictly forbidden.

  3. Flammable Substances: Lighters, matches, and any flammable liquids are not allowed to prevent fires and other safety hazards.

What items are prisoners not allowed to have

What items are prisoners not allowed to have

Drugs and Alcohol

  1. Illegal Drugs: The possession of illegal drugs is a criminal offense both inside and outside prison walls.

  2. Prescription Medication: Inmates are not allowed to keep prescription medication with them. All medication is dispensed and monitored by the prison medical staff.

  3. Alcohol: Alcohol is strictly prohibited within UK prisons due to its potential for abuse and the security risks it poses.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items

  1. Money: Cash is not permitted in the possession of prisoners. Instead, inmates use a secure prison account system for purchases.

  2. Food and Drink: Outside food and beverages are generally not allowed, with prison canteens providing meals and snacks.

  3. Clothing: Certain types of clothing, especially those resembling prison or staff uniforms, are banned to prevent confusion and potential security breaches.

  4. Gambling Items: Cards, dice, and other gambling paraphernalia are prohibited to prevent gambling and associated issues within the prison.

  5. Adult Material: Pornographic or adult material is typically banned to maintain a respectful environment.

Consequences of Possessing Prohibited Items

Possession of any prohibited items can lead to serious consequences for inmates, including disciplinary action, loss of privileges, additional charges, and an impact on parole eligibility. It’s crucial for both prisoners and their visitors to adhere strictly to these regulations.

How Prohibited Items are Identified

Prisons employ various methods to prevent the entry of prohibited items, including thorough searches of inmates, visitors, and staff, as well as the use of metal detectors, X-ray machines, and sniffer dogs.

The Role of Visitors

Visitors play a crucial role in ensuring prohibited items do not enter the prison. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the prison’s rules before a visit and refrain from attempting to smuggle in any banned items.


Understanding what items prisoners are not allowed to have is vital for maintaining the safety and security of UK prisons. Both inmates and their visitors must adhere to these regulations to avoid jeopardizing the inmate’s well-being and rehabilitation process. By respecting these rules, we contribute to a safer and more orderly prison environment, facilitating the rehabilitation and eventual reintegration of prisoners into society.