Canteen is the term used within prison for the weekly delivery of items you have bought for yourself. The choice of items is limited to basic such as hair shampoo and deodorants and simple basic treats such as chocolate or biscuits. It is via the canteen sheet that you have money credited to your phone account.
Each week you will be handed, usually just posted under your cell door, a canteen sheet to complete. This canteen sheet will show your name and prison number along with the amount you have available to spend. When you were convicted and originally your cash taken from you this would have been credited to your private account within the prison, and each week an amount (usually £10.00 for entry level, £15.50 for standard prisoners and £25.00 for enhanced prisoners) is transferred to your “spends” account and the balance you have available to spend will be shown on the canteen sheet.
When you settled into the prison and are either working or are in education whatever you earn each week will also be added to your “spends” balance.
You can get money sent into you by family and friends. There is a new, quicker, way launched on 15th November where money can be sent “electronically” with just the name, prison number and date of birth needed, click here to access the service.
Sending cash is unsafe and is to be discouraged and the only other way is either by sending a cheque or a postal order. Look at the pages on your particular prison to see who these should be sent to and the correct address etc. Any cheque or postal order should be made payable to NOMS Agency and the name and prison number should be written on the back. Whatever method is used to send you money be aware that it takes time to clear into your private cash account. If you are held at a private prison the methods of sending in money are different; look at the individual prison page to see what their rules and procedures are.
Some prisons, mainly the privately run establishments, allow you to send money into a prisoner via the internet. Those using the scheme are:
- Forest Bank
- Lowdham Grange
Click here for their website
While you are in prison you will be expected to either work or be engaged in education. You will be paid for this work or for being in education but the rates of pay reflect that you are in prison and are in the range of £10-£20 per week. This money is added to your “spends” account weekly.