Early days in custody


First night in prison

During the first night process prisoners will have their immediate questions answered including those about:

  • Visits
  • Money
  • Property
  • Telephone calls
  • Letters

Prisoners are moved to either the First Night Wing or Detoxification Unit, given access to a shower and toiletries and given a hot meal and drink.

As far as possible convicted and unconvicted prisoners are accommodated separately as are smokers and non-smokers.

Keeping prisoners safe and supported

Staff, selected for their experience and strong inter-personal skills, focus on keeping prisoners safe and supported during their first night in prison and making sure each individual’s immediate needs are identified and met. They will try to help prisoners settle in, understand what is expected and overcome their anxieties.

“I was made to feel comfortable straight away, I am currently on detox and the reception I got was better than I expected.” (Comment from a prisoner)

Peer support schemes

Listeners (from the Samaritans Listening Scheme), buddies and other peer supporters may offer extra help to new prisoners, particularly during their first days in custody.

Induction process

Inductions are carried out within 72 hours of a prisoner’s arrival at Doncaster. The induction process helps the prisoner to get the most out of their time at HMP & YOI Doncaster in terms of:

  • Settling in
  • Establishing relationships
  • Support available
  • Their sentence
  • Preparing for resettlement

The induction process helps staff understand the prisoner and his needs both now and approaching release. Staff ask about or assess:

  • Previous prison experience and understanding of prison
  • Education levels and areas where they may need more help
  • Previous training and work

At induction, prisoners are encouraged to ask questions about anything they don’t understand.

Prisoners will also find out about:

  • What is expected of them in prison
  • The prison regime – what their time in custody will be like
  • Key services available to them
  • Facilities available (such as gym and Sports Academy, library and phone calls)
  • Incentives & Earned Privileges Scheme
  • Prison rules and regulations
  • Offender management processes and sentence planning
  • Rehabilitation support and interventions available at HMP & YOI Doncaster
  • Food and mealtimes
  • Healthcare services
  • Education, training and work opportunities
  • Visits
  • Chaplaincy and other support available (such as the Samaritans Listening Scheme)
  • Advice on living co-operatively in prison with others – being sensitive to the needs of others, diversity, safety and self-harm management
  • How to make applications and complaints