Arriving in prison

Two types of prisoners can be sent to prison by the court. Sentenced prisoners have been convicted of a crime and given a term of imprisonment. Remand prisoners are being held while awaiting trial or sentencing.

Arriving at the prison

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.

Searching, identity-check and property

Prisoner identities are checked to make sure they should be in prison and then each person is searched for contraband. 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. Prisoners may be able to send their property out of the 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-coloured clothing or paraphernalia is allowed.


Prisoners are interviewed to establish general details like next of kin and if they have any immediate needs.

Prisoners are also given an initial health check which includes mental health screening.

Placement in a unit or wing

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.

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 they arrive in the unit, prisoners will be given an induction interview where they will be informed of the rules and regulations of the prison and the routine of their unit.  This includes how they can contact family or friends, have visitors, use health services and contact staff like the social worker and chaplain who can help them adjust to prison life.

Security classification

Security classification is done within 14 days of being sentenced and takes into account risks posed by the offender. We use security classification to decide what unit a prisoner should be in.


If a prisoner is 17 years old or under when they arrive in prison they are placed in a youth unit. The assessment process for 18 and 19 year-olds takes into account if placing them in a youth unit is in their own, and the other youth unit prisoners' best interests.

Remand prisoners

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.