The Everyday routine, is today. This starts from day one: Your prison number is essential info for anyone on the outside. As well as for you inside. (It is a six-digit code – AA1234 – which you get on arriving.) See if your lawyer can get hold of it just after you have arrived at prison as, they are sometimes funny about handing out this “personal property” to others. or post your reception letter out as soon as you can. Furthermore, when you get your induction £2 phone credit that first night, make sure when you are talking to your loved ones that you give them your prison number.
This is crucial for every interaction inside and outside the prison, when you are a resident in one of the Queens B&Bs. Moreover, a letter authorising your lawyer or whoever to get hold of it, which they can email/fax to prison if necessary. This is just an automatic thought process that you should be having on sentence.
If possible don’t get sentenced on a Friday if you can avoid it. This may sound strange but, a good lawyer can get you sentenced on a day that is better for you. The reason being, you will find out nothing till Monday and the weekends are a tough ‘intro’ to bang-up (for example, none of the phone number clearing works on weekends). If there are shambolic tendencies in the prison you end up in, these will be magnified 10 times over at the weekend. This may sound like a stupid thing to recommend because you have little control over your sentencing date but, the arrangement process between barrister and court clerk can seem a bit fluid and your barrister might be able to cite some other reason for not sentencing you on a Friday. Getting a subscription to a newspaper every day makes you feel a lot more sane and the weekend papers in particular take up a lot of time, which is a great tool to have in killing time. Also as in the first few weeks your head’s in a bit of a spin, it’s far easier to read a newspaper than wade through a book.
Do your best not to start trading (especially in your first couple of weeks) Also don’t feel you have to give someone something (cereal, milk powder, sugar whatever) just because they ask – they try it on and are used to being told no, just do it firmly with a touch of respect.
Prisons don’t let you send newspapers or magazines in – if they did, prisoners relatives would send so many subscriptions that the post room would grind to a halt. However, you can arrange a subscription with a specific newsagent local to each prison. The easiest way to do this is to get someone on the outside to phone the prison and get the details of the newsagent they use and then they can phone the newsagent to organise it. It is normal now for them to accept payment by card on the phone this is easier to kick-start the process, along with your name and prison number. You can do it from the inside by getting hold of the right application form but, it’s more annoying and takes longer, not to mention it potentially messing up your cash for canteen every week.
Get to know the chaplains – it doesn’t matter if you’re religious, and they don’t care. Ask to have a chat with them for pastoral reasons soon after arriving, they are good to talk to because your mind will be racing and they have seen it all before, but even more important if you need a help or a favour they are a good place to start. They are no more able to break the rules than anyone else, but they seem to exercise common sense more than others are able. In bang-up they also have the benefit of being pretty accessible – if you spend all the time you are allowed to outside your cell in the corridor/wing, you will see them at least once a day wandering around – all other supposedly useful sources of help tend to involve going via a guard, or filling in a form, called an App.
First time in Prison? What ever your take is on the British PRISON System, Information, needs or questions can be answered, GET ON THIS… (GOT) has got you covered. I take great pride in providing the very best and balanced representation within the criminal justice estates. Having spent over 40 yrs in one form of institution or another have provided guidance and assistance in all areas and would like to continue helping people with an understanding of our prison system.
A bespoke service from personal experience that you can depend on. A friendly service giving you peace of mind in all areas of H.M.Prisons and their policies & procedures. I am not a solicitor and cannot represent you legally. However, I understand that each client has differing needs and concerns. I can assist and discuss with you in advance the likely difficulties and challenges you will face in prison including, Sentence Mitigation Reports, categorisation, disciplinary proceedings, prison transfers, Release on Temporary Licence through to eventual release and living on licence in the community.
If you feel that you need some advice and direction about somebody you know in prison then do not hesitate to contact me through my blog.
EX-LONG TERM PRISONER