Getting things Done

You will rapidly discover that everything in prison is done “by application”. This is a pre-printed form which you fill in as appropriate and hand in to the Wing Office. The form covers almost all the usual requests that are made and should be given a response within 5 working days. The prison service is still largely paper based in its systems ( private prisons less so), and you will find that you will be handed numerous pieces of paper regarding visits, work, education etc are passed under your cell door during the day. It is important to keep these as they will represent the authority to “let you off the wing” to attend the visit or medical appointment and the wing staff may well not let you attend the appointment unless you can prove that you have been requested to attend. As a new prisoner you may well get frustrated at the time it takes to get responses to what you think are simple requests, or with the overall bureaucracy of the system. You must remember that the primary task of a prison is to “carry out the instructions of the courts and to detain you in custody”, and that is their day-to-day focus.

When an officer wants’ to speak with you or pass on some information the usual method is to make an announcement of the tannoy system: these tannoy systems are not user-friendly and it is very easy to mishear the announcements especially as they are frequent and will be used to summon people to work, meals, medical etc. If you don’t hear or respond to an announcement either the officer will come onto the wing to find you, a message will be passed under your cell door, or it will be forgotten and your visit or medical appointment will be missed.

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