For anyone wishing to find more detailed, systematic and comprehensive information, I cannot recommend highly enough the “The Prisons Handbook (2009)”, available from – a weighty tome with seemingly nothing overlooked and clearly the product of an enormous amount of time and research.

The advice and support section of the HM Prison Service website can be found at and within the “Prison Life” section are the two “Prisoners’ Information Books”, which outline some of the procedures and are worth having had a look through, albeit manage your own expectations.

The rules governing everything that happens to you once you have been sent to prison are within the “Prison Service Instructions (PSIs)” and “Prison Service Orders (PSOs)”. These really are the srouce material you should go to if you want to understand your rights, and if you ever feel you are being harshly treated or messed around. They are extensive though, so reading them beforehand and trying to remember what is important is virtually impossible, especially out of context from the outside. They will all be available to you in your Prison Library (although that relies on you being able to get to it when you want) and of course if you are in contact with someone on the outside it is worth them being able to locate these online to help you. They are available within this section of the HM Prison Website