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.

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Prepping For Release

How can I prepare for going back into the community?

If the Probation Service is to supervise you after your release, Probation Officers working in your prison can help you to prepare for life after release.

They can give you information and put you in contact with things outside the prison like:

  • social services
  • hostels
  • training and treatment programmes – individual and groups.

Probation Officers can also help you to reduce the risk of reoffending by guiding you on how to manage your:

  • behaviour
  • lifestyle
  • personal affairs.

Probation Officers can also help you keep in contact with your family and community during your time in prison.

They should work under the Governor’s direction to make sure that ‘sentence management plans’ are made and carried out. These should include plans for easing you back into society.

The Probation Service may supervise you after your release or it may not. It depends. If the Probation Service is not going to supervise you after your release and Probation Officers in the prison can’t help, you can speak to a chaplain or other prison services like an Integrated Sentence Management Co-ordinator. They may be able to help you prepare for your release.

What happens if I don’t have anywhere to go when I get out?

If you don’t have a place to go when you are released from prison, or you don’t have a family member or friend who can put you up, talk to the:

  • Probation Officer
  • relevant community-based organisations
  • a chaplain at the prison
  • Resettlement Co-ordinator.

They might be able to help you or to put you in contact with hostel accommodation. The Resettlement Co-ordinator may be able to help sentenced prisoners apply for social housing support. They may also be able to help these prisoners apply for an emergency medical card. This card will be given to prisoners who qualify for it when they are being released.

To find out information about how to access homeless services, read the Citizens Information Service release booklet in the library for remand prisoners. Sometimes Chaplains will help remand prisoners to connect with the local authority, if the release date is known. Local authorities can sometimes help to get housing for prisoners.