Correctional facilities have strict policies on behaviour and security. Breaking prison rules can have serious consequences including loss of privileges.
Offences may lead to additional police charges, court appearances and added time to the prisoners sentence. A visiting tribunal that will make decisions and pass judgements without the need to be transferred to court.
All misconduct will be added to the prisoner’s case plan.
A prisoner can be separated if it is decided that they pose an extreme risk to themselves or to other prisoners or staff or when an investigation is to be undertaken. If this is the case the prisoner will be placed in a cell by themselves.
A prisoner's progression, wellbeing, conduct and are monitored whilst in prison and noted, along with any other relevant matter, in their case notes.
These notes will be made available to:
- Correctional staff when reviewing security ratings
- Case Officers
- Case Management Coordinators
- The General Manager of the Prison
- Parole Board
- The Serious Offender Committee if and when applicable
- The Sentence Management Unit and
- any other relevant party as lawfully authorised.
Breaking the rules and regulations
Breaches of prison regulations will be handled depending upon the regulation breached and the seriousness of the incident. Incidents are reviewed and processed by:
- Minor Breach Notice
- Chief Executive Inquiry [CE inquiry]
- Visiting Tribunal and
- The court.
Minor breaches of the regulations will result in a Minor Breach Notice. This notice gives details of the incident and the penalty that will be imposed. Penalties may include loss of privileges and exclusion from work but cannot include fines.
The prisoner then must decide to either to:
- accept the penalty and have the penalty applied or
- choose to be charged and have the incident heard at a CE Inquiry or Visiting Tribunal.
If the prisoner elects to be charged they have 24 hours to complete and return the supplied form.
A Notice of Charge will then be issued to the prisoner and the original penalty will be suspended at this time.
The General Manager of the prison or a delegate can also deem the incident to be a serious breach of regulations. They can elect to formally charge the prisoner and give the prisoner a Notice of Charge.
The incident will then be heard at a CE inquiry or by the Visiting Tribunal as deemed necessary.
Notice of Charge
The Chief Executive or a delegate will issue a Notice of Charge. This will include details of the incident and the date of the inquiry or tribunal. The Notice of Charge must be served within eight weeks of the incident.
Prisoners can chose to have the incident reviewed at a CE Inquiry or by the Visiting Tribunal.
Prisoners can consult with a lawyer or legal practitioner before the hearing but they cannot represent prisoners at the inquiry or tribunal.
A CE Inquiry
The CE inquiry is conducted by correctional staff. The CE Inquiry can also refer the matter to a Visiting Tribunal.
Prisoners are given the opportunity to hear and give evidence, and examine witnesses at the inquiry. They may also be cross examined.
The penalties that can be imposed by a CE Inquiry are greater than the penalties that can be imposed by a Minor Breach Notice. If a prisoner has elected to take the matter to a CE Inquiry, the Inquiry has the power to increase the original penalty and apply a fine.
Prisoners will be informed of the decision within 24 hours and have seven days to appeal the Chief Executive’s decision. If a prisoner does appeals the CE Inquiry penalties will be suspended pending the outcome of the Visiting Tribunal.
Appeals will be held by the Visiting Tribunal. Prisoners cannot take the appeal further.
A Visiting Tribunal will have a Visiting Justice who may be either a Magistrate or a special justice. Prisoners attend the Visiting Tribunal and they can give evidence but may also be cross-examined.
Penalties that can be imposed by a Visiting Tribunal are greater than those that can be imposed by a CE Inquiry.
The Visiting Tribunal can also determine compensation for loss or damage.
Prisoners should be informed of the Visiting Tribunal's decision with 24 hours.
There are limited options to appeal a Visiting Tribunal and only where a Visiting Tribunal hears and decides a matter in the first instance.
Appeals will be held at court.
Failure to comply with the directions of the Visiting Tribunal can lead to a fine or imprisonment
Examples of breaches
- Non Compliance – Not following the instructions of a correctional officer is regarded as a breach
- Abusive or insolent language
- Indecency – Prisoners are expected to be appropriately dressed
- Sex – Sex and displays of intimacy are prohibited in prison
- Threatening, abusive or violent behaviour – Violence is not tolerated against fellow inmates or staff. Prisoners will be charged and reported to the police if violent.
- Having contraband – If found with contraband the details will be added to the prisoner's case plan and the incident reported. Each prison has its own list of banned items.
Other banned items include:
- drugs and alcohol – random drug testing is carried out to detect their use
- potential weapons
- anything that could be classed as pornography, racist or connected with gang-culture
- tattooing equipment and needles.
Committing a criminal offence in prison is breaking the law
Offences may lead to additional police charges, court appearances and added time to a prisoner's sentence.
Criminal Offences committed in prison are dealt with in court.