Know Your Rights - Your Rights As A Prisoner

The information on this website is designed to help you to better know and understand the rights someone has while they are in prison. This website is an interactive version of IPRT and ICCL's 'Know Your Rights - Your Rights as a Prisoner' booklet.

The booklet is available for download in different formats by clicking the orange button.

Please don’t be put off by the amount of information on this website. You can read and/or print just the sections that are important to you. We have done our best to write and present this information as clearly as we can, and we start below by explaining some of the key words used on this website.

You can always click back to the 'Key Words' section if you come across a word you do not understand. We used Plain English Guidelines to help as many people as possible understand the information.

KYR Download

84 Page PDF

Cigarettes Alcohol and Drugs

Am I allowed to smoke in prison?

You don’t have a right to smoke in prison. (Rule 26) However, you may smoke in prison with the permission of the Governor. You must ask for permission to smoke in your cell or in other parts of the prison. Smoking is only allowed in certain areas in prison including your cell and outside areas

Am I allowed to drink alcohol in prison?

You do not have a right to drink or possess alcohol unless the Governor gives you permission to do so. (Rule 26)

Am I allowed to use illegal drugs in prison?

No. Unless you have a valid prescription from a doctor, a psychiatrist or dentist (Rule 26), you may not have, and no member of the prison staff should provide you with, any controlled drug or medicine.

Hair, Urine and Saliva Samples

You might have to give a hair, urine or saliva sample so prison staff can detect the presence or use of any:

  • alcohol
  • controlled drug
  • medicinal product.

This is not done for substances prescribed by a prison doctor, psychiatrist or dentist.

If you refuse to provide a sample, this is serious as you are breaching (not following) prison discipline.

Prison staff may randomly search you after a visit, even if you are not a known drug user. This is because you could be put under pressure to bring drugs into the prison for other prisoners.


If you wish to stop smoking or if you have a drink or drug addiction problem, you should discuss this with the staff. They will be able to advise you about appropriate services or give you information about counselling available in your prison.