Arriving at prison

Upon arrival the prisoner will be taken to the admission area for processing by DCS staff. Processing takes on average between 3 to 6 hours.

Children of women prisoners

Women with children will be asked if their children are safe and being cared for. If necessary an opportunity will be provided for arrangements to be made.


The prisoner will then be photographed.

All prisoners are strip searched to ensure prison safety and prevent contraband. The strip search is done in a dignified way by staff of the same gender.

The prisoner will be provided with the opportunity to shower and provided with clean prison clothing and shoes.The prisoner may be placed in a holding cell whilst staff are processing the prisoner.

Property and clothing

Everything worn by a prisoner including jewellery and rings will be processed, catalogued and put in storage. The secure bag from the holding cells will also be processed at this time.

Prohibited items including mobile phones will not be kept in storage. Prisoners must arrange for family member or a close friend to claim the items otherwise they will disposed of after 2 weeks. Mobile phones must be collected within 7 days.

If a prisoner has no one to pick up these items OARS or Second Chances may be able to assist.

At this stage prisoners will have the opportunity to access telephone numbers of close family members and their lawyer. Prescribed medication will also be assessed by the health staff. Only medication approved and identified by prison doctors and nurses will be allowed into the prison.


Money is removed from the secure bag and processed into the ‘prisoner trust account’. If there is over $200 the excess is added to the prisoner’s telephone account.


Prisoners will be interviewed by correctional and medical staff. The interviews assist correctional staff to determine what category the prisoner is and which prison and location is most suitable for the prisoners needs.  

Nurses will assess the prisoners health concerns thoroughly and provide medication if necessary.

Prisoners should let the nurse know if they are experiencing drug or alcohol withdrawal issues or are on a methadone program. Nurses can arrange for the prisoner to see the doctor if they have health concerns.

This is the prisoner's opportunity to raise any health care issues or to let staff know if they are pregnant or breast feeding.


Nurses and medical staff will assess the prisoner's health and wellbeing thoroughly. They will provide medication if necessary and arrange for the prisoner to see a doctor if there are health concerns.

Prisoners should tell the nurses if they are on a methadone program and arrangements will be made to see a doctor who can put the prisoner on a methadone program. Nurses are also able to help if the prisoner is experiencing drug or alcohol withdrawal issues. The nurses will also ask if the prisoner has any special requirements.

At this stage it is important that the prisoner raise any health care issues. Women should let the nurse know if they are pregnant or breast feeding.

Food and meals

Once processed the prisoner will be able to eat at the prison’s next available meal time. A sandwich or salad pack may be available at other times. A prisoner can ask for water at any time during processing.

Phone calls

Prisoners will provided with the opportunity to make a phone call to family member or friend at the end of the admission process. One phone call lasting 10 minutes in duration can be made at this time.

The correctional officer will get the details of who the prisoner wants to call along with the number. The person at the other end of the phone will be asked if they wish to accept the phone call.

During this time the prisoner may wish to let the person know where they are, ask for money to be transferred to their prisoner account, or ask them to contact a lawyer on their behalf.

The prisoner will also be asked to complete a telephone form. A prisoner is able to list a maximum of 10 numbers they want to be able to call whilst in prison.

Find out more about telephone calls.

After admission

The prisoner will be taken to the cell blocks and accommodation units.
Prisoner placement is based on assessment of any special needs or risks identified.

They will be provided with a plate or bowl and cup for meal times and bedding and hygiene items.

They will also get a provision pack with coffee, tea, sugar and cutlery. A prisoners cell is chosen on availability and they may have to share their cell.


Prisoners will be given an orientation session within the first day of arriving. Prisoners will learn about the prison routine including meal times, shower times, exercise and their prisoner rights.

They will be advised on:

  • the prison rules
  • behaviour expectations
  • the discipline process
  • health, welfare and infection issues and
  • how to make telephone calls, contact family, money and property.

Newly admitted prisoners may be able to purchase induction packs from the canteen system.