The first weeks in custody

So the judge/magistrate has passed sentence and has given a prison term. What happens next? Maybe the judge has given a suspended sentence or a community order and these are explained elsewhere.

Immediately the judge passes sentence the prisoner is taken into custody and probably placed in handcuffs, there is no opportunity to give loved ones a final hug and you won’t be allowed to talk to them as you will be taken into a different area of the court building.

The prisoner will be subjected to a rudimentary search and their personal possessions such as mobile, wallet, purse, handbag, money etc will be taken away. They will give them a receipt for the stuff taken, which could include any jewellery they are wearing. They will be put into a small holding cell which will be very basic and spartan, probably without a window but usually having a toilet. The court staff will remove the handcuffs when the prisoner is in the cell. Your lawyer and barrister will be allowed to visit , but don’t expect that they will talk to the prisoner much about an appeal etc as frankly their head will be fried and lawyers know that.

After the pleasantries with the lawyers, who will usually be happy to pass simple messages onto the family or friends, such as what prison you will be taken to, you will be left alone to your thoughts.


How Prisons Work

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