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Serving a Prison Sentence: Prisoner's Rights

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 20 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Prison Prisoners Crime Legal Convicted

Anyone convicted of a crime in the UK, or being held on remand pending trial, will not be able to avail themselves of the full extent of the rights currently on the law books, or protected by the European Court of Human Rights. However, this does not mean that they become sub-human or less deserving of respect and dignity than anyone else, it just means that they are subject to certain restrictions.

Allocation

Upon arrival in prison you will be searched for any items that are not permitted in the prison, such as weapons or drugs etc. Any cash that you are holding will be confiscated and placed into a special account for your use. This may all seem a bit harsh but you need to bear in mind that the prison system is not designed to be a holiday-camp, recent headlines notwithstanding.

Each prisoner is required, as part of their time in Prison, to abide by the rules laid down by the Prison Act 1952 and also to any rules or regulations that cover that particular establishment.

Once you have been searched and assessed you will be allocated a certain category based, in part, on your offence and on your behaviour. The basic regime has the strictest rules and fewer privileges than its more favourable counterparts (the standard or enhanced). Also, again dependant on your particular offence, you may be immediately segregated from the rest of the prison population. Many critics of the prison system would say that this is not necessary; that all prisoners should be together and whatever happens; happens. This would be a breach of one of the most fundamental human rights; protection of the body and respect for dignity.

Contact with Family

It is a breach of the Prison Act to deny a prisoner the ability to contact his family and loved ones. Therefore card or PIN telephones are available in all prisons however, for security purposes, all calls are taped except those to legal counsel, the Samaritans or other similar organisations. In some cases, as a punishment, the Governor may restrict phone use although this is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In addition to phone rights the Prisoners also have the right to send two letters to loved ones; one ‘statutory’ letter and one ‘privilege’ letter. The privilege letter can be stopped as a punishment but the statutory one cannot. All letters coming from inmates of High-security prisons and Category A offenders will be read and possibly censored. This also covers letters to legal counsel, although this is just intended as a measure to ensure that it is actually legal in nature and not a ploy intended to assist the inmate in breaking the rules or committing further offences.

In addition the Governor of the prison, no matter which category, has the power to send back letters sent to inmates if they are too long or if there are too many arriving. This may be a breach of personal freedom but this must be offset with the need to keep order in the prison system.

Restrictions

Make no mistake, no matter what your crime, you will be subject to the Prison Rules while you are a ‘guest of the state’, however many of your basic rights are unchanged. You still have the right to food, protection from assault and access to the courts. What you lose are your civil right to vote and your right to personal freedom, among others.

What we have at the present are basic needs being met in the form of food, housing, work, education, protection and acknowledgement of the family unit.The law is still developing in this area and it may be that further rights are introduced as the law changes; it may also be that rights are removed by necessity or for security reasons. Whether the Rules past, present and future can stand up to the scrutiny of the European Court of Human Rights is a matter for the Prisoners groups and the Lawmakers but the prison system is its own society and therefore any proposals for change in this area will be the subject of intense debate.

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Hi my nephew is in hull hes been in a week and has not made a phone call but only letter why has he not been allowed a phoje call ?
Elizabeth Lockwood - 20-Feb-18 @ 9:50 PM
Hi: My brother is in Manchester Prison. for the last FOUR weeks they have not had hot water. Seems no one really cares about the prisoner's, becaue they are prisoner's. This is buse and neglect in its lowest form. Despite their current residence, they DO have rights. Why has this been allowed to continue for so long. You have had numerous people write on here bringing up the extended issue of NO hot water in the prison. Interestingly in 2 seperate prisons. What is going on? I don't believe for 1 second that the water happened to go out at the same time in 2 different prisons. What is this? An attempt to save money at the expense of the prisoner's personl hygiene? Something is not right with this situation. You have a prison full of guys and NO hot water. This is inhumane and unusual punishment. I can't believe for one second that there is any good reason, other than lack of care and concern for the prisoners, why this has been allowed ot continue for 4 weeks or more.Writing to the governor proves to be fruitless, and never any response, they simply lie nd pretend they had no knowledge. We constantly hear negative reports of prisoners, yet, no one want's to acknowledge the HUGE pink elephant in the room. THE PRISON SYSTEM IS BROKE...LITERALLY. Absent any shame, which I think is relied upon, in order to keep prisoners quiet, this needs to be made public. Ther is absolutely NO excuse why this has continued for more than 30 days..... Ridiculous!Im sure the governor9s) respond to the outcry. Prisoner's have family that love them, and the fact that they are prisoner's do not change that Fact. The shame is on England and its terrible inhumane conditions. Maybe it is time to put the spotlight on what is relly going on inside these delapidated walls. I am going to the media, perhaps then it will be taken seriously and all those working in this less than stellar judicial system will be reminded of something frequently forgotten. Prisoner's have Rights, Rights, that are consistently denied, ignored and mocked.
PrisonerRights - 14-Feb-18 @ 10:02 AM
Alli- Your Question:
Hi I’m wondering if anybody can confirm and validate the prisoners rights concerning visits. My partner over the past 10 months since sentencing has been moved further and further away. I understand this is how it works but due to the expense of travel I’d also have accommodation cost and I’m not entitled to any any help with costs. I’ve not seen him for 6 months. He’s just been moved to HMP Liverpool. I’ve heard nothing from him which is very out of character. During this 10 month period many apps have been made to try and stay within reasonable distance but this has not been the case. To my understanding if a prisoner has not had a visit for a period of time it’s in his rights to have a 6 week move closer to home. If anyone can shed some information on what steps I can take to do this it would be very much appreciated.

Our Response:
Prisoners are legally entitled to "contact family and loved ones, either via prison visits or over the phone and can write letters to whomever they choose once a week (as long as the letter adheres to certain rules and the recipient is approved by the prison governor.)"
AboutHumanRights - 6-Feb-18 @ 3:24 PM
Hi I’m wondering if anybody can confirm and validate the prisoners rights concerning visits. My partner over the past 10 months since sentencing has been moved further and further away. I understand this is how it works but due to the expense of travel I’d also have accommodation cost and I’m not entitled to any any help with costs. I’ve not seen him for 6 months. He’s just been moved to HMP Liverpool. I’ve heard nothing from him which is very out of character. During this 10 month period many apps have been made to try and stay within reasonable distance but this has not been the case. To my understanding if a prisoner has not had a visit for a period of time it’s in his rights to have a 6 week move closer to home. If anyone can shed some information on what steps I can take to do this it would be very much appreciated.
Alli - 6-Feb-18 @ 11:23 AM
My partner was sentenced to 9 years in prison he a EU national he says he has a review for cat D does that mean he will not get deported?
Catherine - 2-Feb-18 @ 8:41 PM
Hello, I have relative who is currently over 500 miles away from home and hasn't had a visit in over 20 years. Each time someone comes to visit he is unable to be seen for some reason or another.The family travels from Wisconsin to Florida to visit him and we are not allowed.We were told by our state representative that he shouldn't be that far away from home and we have petitioned three times to have him brought closer to home but the warden keeps denying him.He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has over three hernia surgeries he has been locked up for over 26 years and the past 20 years we have not been able to see him for one reason or another. We sent in tons of letters of concerns. He is in Coleman Medium and he shouldn't be there. He currently has no health issues. The doctor that botched up his prostate surgery in California followed him down to Florida is trying to force him to do another surgery and he is scared to death.Can someone please help?
Jo - 12-Jan-18 @ 10:47 PM
InmateMrs - Your Question:
My partner is being denied his prescribed medications to help with chronic pain are they allowed to do this. He has shown evidence of his prescriptions and the GP has sent all the medical information to the prison. He has already been rushed to hospital due to not receiving his medication he has put in multiple applications to see a doctor and was told “why do you need to see a doctor you have just come out of hospital” and was denied access to a doctorHe suffers from multiple problems and is under specialists in the community which he has provided proof, the prison have cancelled some of his hospital appointments and failed to take him to a two week cancer referral appointment. Is this against his human rights?

Our Response:
The general principle for prisoners relating to this, according to the United Nations, is that "Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation"
The Families Outside organisation offers some help and advice on this.
AboutHumanRights - 12-Jan-18 @ 12:51 PM
My partner is being denied his prescribed medications to help with chronic pain are they allowed to do this. He has shown evidence of his prescriptions and the GP has sent all the medical information to the prison. He has already been rushed to hospital due to not receiving his medicationhe has put in multiple applications to see a doctor and was told “why do you need to see a doctor you have just come out of hospital” and was denied access to a doctor He suffers from multiple problems and is under specialists in the community which he has provided proof, the prison have cancelled some of his hospital appointments and failed to take him to a two week cancer referral appointment. Is this against his human rights?
InmateMrs - 10-Jan-18 @ 4:28 PM
Meegan - Your Question:
My partner is also in HMP berwyn and they are still without hot water & heating!! Its ridiculous, granted their there for a reason but this should not be allowed to continue, its been nearly a week. I think its against human rights but im not 100% sure.

Our Response:
Have you contacted the prison governor? What was the response? News items suggest this problem has now been resolved and that prisoners were provide with alternative means for sanitation and keeping warm etc
AboutHumanRights - 10-Jan-18 @ 9:55 AM
Hi, my partner is also at HMP Berwyn. They still have no hot water or heating. The prisoners are not given any update apart from it’ll be done by the end of the day, they have been told this everyday. The staff are not helpful when you try to call. Can you advise if this breaches their human rights as prisoners. Which route could family potentially go down to have this looked into further. To add insult prisoners are being givenPot Noodles and a chocolate bar to keep them sweet. With the restrictions on the water allowance filling kettles with 750ml 6x an hr for drinking, washing pots, hygiene with more than 1 prisoner per room I would like to know what the guidelines are for this.
Kcl - 9-Jan-18 @ 12:50 PM
Jackyh - Your Question:
Hi my husband is in HMP Berwyn and they haven’t had any heating or hot water for four days now and not been told when they will get it back what can we do about this? Is it contravening any of his rights?

Our Response:
Have you contacted the prison's governor?
AboutHumanRights - 8-Jan-18 @ 2:18 PM
My partner is also in HMP berwyn and they are still without hot water & heating!! Its ridiculous, granted their there for a reason but this should not be allowed to continue, its been nearly a week. I think its against human rights but im not 100% sure...
Meegan - 7-Jan-18 @ 11:44 AM
Hi my husband is in HMP Berwyn and they haven’t had any heating or hot water for four days now and not been told when they will get it back what can we do about this? Is it contravening any of his rights?
Jackyh - 5-Jan-18 @ 8:16 PM
Hi my husband got sentence to 18 months In prison he was born in a different country but came to the UK at the age of 6 months since being in prison immergration have now said he could face deportation but that was at the start of his sentence he's due out in the next 2 weeks but the immergration people have still not told him what's going on please could anyone give me some advice
Jane - 3-Jan-18 @ 7:52 PM
Hi I’m just wanting a bit of advice my boyfriend is in a prison far away from home wich means no visits. For the past few weeks he as been having trouble from the other inmates been beat up a few times and his face been slashed I’m worried for his safety the prison has moved him wings but the trouble hasn’t stopped...what can I do or anyone do?
Sally - 28-Dec-17 @ 10:24 AM
Hi my sin is in hmp doncaster marshgate anh has been without heatin in his cell for at least two weeks now wot can be done about it i spoke to the prison over a week ago and they told me the problem was being fixed but todat 22dec still no heating for anyone down the seg block surely this must be illegal when it comes to human rights other stuff as been going off down there that concerns me what can i do
jenski - 22-Dec-17 @ 6:41 PM
My partner is refusing to move prison and has been told he will be “twisted up” and physically forces if he doesn’t go. Hs doesn’t want to be transferred to a particular prison due to a close family member passing away in that establishment recently and investigations in to the death are ongoing. He’s open to any other establishment but just doesn’t want to be there, what can we do ?
Tee - 12-Dec-17 @ 5:11 PM
Hi my partner has been sentenced to 26 weeks so he will do 13 weeks in prison. Is there any way he could get out earlier?
Chloe - 11-Dec-17 @ 9:56 PM
Linzimcr - Your Question:
I need advice my partner has paperwork from the jail with hes release date they told him 2day he cant come home as it hasnt been confirmed because they have a differant date on the ministry of justice systems hes barrister has been tryin to sort it out.what happens now?

Our Response:
His barrister will sort it out for him...
AboutHumanRights - 1-Dec-17 @ 11:02 AM
I need advice my partner has paperwork from the jail with hes release date they told him 2day he cant come home as it hasnt been confirmed because they have a differant date on the ministry of justice systems hes barrister has been tryin to sort it out.what happens now?
Linzimcr - 29-Nov-17 @ 5:19 PM
hi my son is in armley hes always on basic due to been victimised by officers he should of been moved out of that place a long time ago they get treat like dogs in there ,they choose to give him 2 pound out of his bank money disgusting how can he talk to his mum i am so worried about him hes always upset
loz - 27-Nov-17 @ 7:21 PM
I have a question my nephew was to be out on Parole In January but when he went for his hearing they gave him another year they say the prison are full. 10 inmates when in from of the Parole only one got to go home...why are they keeping this inmates In prison, if the prison are full.. you want them out In society but you don’t give them a chance .also Is there anyways we can request my nephew come home for a visit on New Years? Or even spent the day with us outside the prison
Bevey - 22-Nov-17 @ 3:08 PM
Hello. My son has returned to prison after 2.5 years in a mental health unit. He has called me almost daily saying that he is being victimised, that he has been unable to speak with mental health workers and that his complaints in regard to his vulnerability are being ignored. His paranoia is off the scale and he believes that he is going to be killed in prison therefore he is looking for ways to commit suicide first. There is no email contact at all for the prison and the phone is never answered. I cannot contact the governer because of this and have no idea what to do. Can you help?
PT - 21-Nov-17 @ 3:16 PM
Nick - Your Question:
Hi my nephew is currently on remand and he is being denied his creams for his eczema, he should also be having regular blood tests because of the cream he is in, this is also not happening, can the prison really deny these?

Our Response:
A prisoner should get the same healthcare and treatment in prison as anyone outside prison. He should make a complaint via the prison's complaint system. If it's not resolved then he could try referring it to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
AboutHumanRights - 21-Nov-17 @ 10:31 AM
Hi my nephew is currently on remand and he is being denied his creams for his eczema, he should also be having regular blood tests because of the cream he is in, this is also not happening, can the prison really deny these?
Nick - 20-Nov-17 @ 4:44 AM
Cot - Your Question:
Hi my partners been in jail for few months nw he's been left brain damage after is crash so he gets confused a lot of times I'm really worried about I'm nw as just got a phone call to say an officer an hit I'm an he's got black eye and stuff really worried coz he's ad bleed on brain an it mite cum bk if they dnt get it checked need help wot to do coz this is a joke thanks

Our Response:
If you have genuine concerns for your partner's safety, write to the prison governor requesting information about the incident and its medical effects. The Family Lives Organisation might be able to help you to find out information.
AboutHumanRights - 15-Nov-17 @ 2:10 PM
Hi my partners been in jail for few months nw he's been left brain damage after is crash so he gets confused a lot of times I'm really worried about I'm nw as just got a phone call to say an officer an hit I'm an he's got black eye and stuff really worried coz he's ad bleed on brain an it mite cum bk if they dnt get it checked need help wot to do coz this is a jokethanks
Cot - 14-Nov-17 @ 3:24 PM
my son's father has just been moved prisons, I have a visit booked for Friday will I still be able to go to his new prison? also how do I claim cost of travel back? he got compensation while inside, he said security have said h3 cannot send money out.. is this true?
leanne348 - 13-Nov-17 @ 2:55 AM
At the moment miss Lindsey Sharp is having munthey home visits and each time is bringing brugs back to the prison which I ding disgusting and this should not be napping and something needs done adoutvthis asap ivwoukd appreciate it if something can and will be done as if nothing gets done I have no opinion but to go to my local papers Bout this as its just taking the puss out of the hole system .thank you.
Linny - 11-Nov-17 @ 10:12 PM
My boyfriend and farther to my to baby's is in remand for supply of class a drug cocaine also for section 20 against my self would he be able to right a letter to me or say my name in letters to other people because it's me that has hat to press charges against him for it because of social survives his family are saying he wouldn't be aloud but I don't no
Katie - 11-Nov-17 @ 9:49 PM
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