Cell life

As a prisoner you will spend a significant amount of time being locked in your cell. Everybody except those on Basic will have access to a small TV with a limited selection of channels, but in most cases no radio facilities. Many prisoners purchase from the facilities list a small radio or even a small HiFi system. Electronic gadgets which have a wifi capability are forbidden, however some game consoles are allowed, depending on your IEP status. Remember however that you are likely to be sharing a cell with another person and won’t have your own TV or monitor. Prisoners are avid users of the library facilities within the prison. Each week you will be allowed to go to the library to change your books and to read the papers. The times when this is available will depend on your wing/spur.

Smoking is not permitted in any enclosed space within a prison, however prisoners are allowed to smoke within the confines of their own cell. This rule is largely ignored by prisoners, and whilst they can receive an IEP warning if caught the majority of prisoner officers ignore the rule as well. Prisons tend, therefore, to be rather dirty and unpleasant smelling.  When you are first allocated to a cell you should be placed with a non smoker if this was your request, if not then ask your personal officer or at the wing office for a cell move.

There are plans being put forward to ban smoking in prison entirely but concerns about how this ban would be implemented so at present the status quo remains. These moves are founded on the risks of passive smoking  danger to non smoking staff and prisoners. Smokers in these establishments will be offered help in kicking the habit. Currently  a high percentage of prisoners smoke.

Sharing a cell is difficult. Compromises must be made by both inmates, but if you have real problems with your cellmate, talk to the wing office. They will have no sympathy if the problem is that he wants to watch East Enders while you want to watch MasterMind, but if there is racial/religious/sexual orientation problems they will help.

Return to Life Behind the Wall

On Tuesday 24th March it was announced that all prisons in the UK would go into a "lock down" state, as a result on Covid19.  In simple terms it means that prisoners will be confined to their cells for the vast majority of each day, being unlocked only for meals and very limited exercise periods. All social visits are cancelled with immediate effect.

The prison staff will ensure that medical requirements will be met as per usual but there will be no "association periods" for the prisoners. Undoubtably this will be difficult and stressful for a number of prisoners, but the prison authorities are acting for the greater good of the majority of prisoners and staff.

Any establishment specific queries you may have should be directed to the prisons