The following information explains what a new prisoner can expect during their first days in prison.
There are two types of prisoners that can be sent to prison by the court. They are sentenced prisoners and remand prisoners and they are managed differently. Sentenced prisoners have been convicted of a crime and given a jail term. Remand prisoners are being held while awaiting trial or sentencing.
After being sentenced in court, prisoners will normally be held in the court cells until the end of the day. A group will then be transported to prison, where the receiving office processes them.
Prisoners are firstly placed into what is called a “dirty cell” until they have been searched for contraband. Once a prisoner has been searched they are placed in a “clean cell”.
Steps are then taken to check each prisoner and ensure their identities are correct and that they should be in prison.
If a prisoner has property with them, it will be documented and processed at this point. Depending on what the items are, once they have been checked for contraband they may be given back to the prisoner, stored or disposed of. Property may also be sent home by a prisoner.
More information about what items are allowed in prison.
If a prisoner has cash it will be deposited in their prison Trust Account. Prisoners can use this account to purchase a range of approved grocery items in prison.
Prison clothing will be issued, although this varies between prisons. Some may allow prisoners to wear some of their own clothes but no gang-related clothing or paraphernalia is allowed.
Prisoners are then interviewed to establish general details like next of kin and if they have any immediate needs.
A central part of this process is assessing whether the prisoner’s safety may be at-risk and whether they should be placed in general population or in a Special Needs/ At Risk Unit or segregation. Prisoners under 18 years of age, or 18 and 19-year-olds assessed as vulnerable will be placed in a Youth Unit.
Prisoners are also given an initial health check.
Part of the assessment process is used to determine where a prisoner will initially be placed in a prison.
Many prisons will have a unit where new arrivals will spend their first days while their security classification and offender plan are finalised.
New prisoners will be taken to the unit they have been assigned to and allocated a cell. This may be a single cell or a cell shared with another prisoner.
Soon after their arrival in the unit, prisoners will be given an induction interview where they will be informed of the rules and regulations of the prison, the routine of their unit and other relevant information.
This includes the processes for contacting family or friends, having visitors, using health services and how to contact staff like the social worker and chaplain who can help them adjust to prison life.
Unless they will be in prison for less than 28 days, every prisoner will be given an offender plan.
A Corrections staff member will interview and assess a prisoner, aiming to identify factors that may have contributed to the prisoner’s offending and ways these could be addressed in prison.
From this assessment, a plan will be prepared for the prisoner for the course of their sentence that may include objectives like them undertaking education, participating in rehabilitative programmes and developing work skills.
Remand prisoners go through most of the same processes as sentenced prisoners but there are a few key differences.
They are received at a prison and assessed in the same way as sentenced prisoners but are generally allowed to wear their own clothes while inside.
They are kept separate from sentenced prisoners in units or wings only for remand prisoners.
As they have not yet been convicted or sentenced by the courts, no offender plan is created for them.
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