Reception/arrival and initial assessments

“When sentenced my immediate worries were for my family” (prisoner comment)

The reception and arrival process focuses on identifying immediate needs including any external matters that prisoners may need assistance with. This includes prisoner safety and identifying those who may be at risk of harm.

The reception process for all prisoners is the same whether they arrive from court or are transferred from another prison.

On arrival, the prisoner’s identity is confirmed and general details are recorded. This includes

  • Personal details
  • Ethnic group
  • Religion
  • Contact details for next of kin or nominated contact
  • A photograph

All arriving prisoners are searched for any prohibited items. This search includes any property they bring with them.

To begin with all convicted prisoners are required to wear prison clothing. Prisoners on remand are able to wear their own clothes. Following 14 days of good conduct convicted prisoners become eligible to have their own clothes handed in.

Initial assessments

Initial assessments are completed soon after arrival. We interview all new prisoners to establish:

  • Learning needs
  • Disabilities
  • Risk of harm to self or others
  • Short and long-term physical and mental needs
  • Short and long-term medication needs
  • Drug and / or alcohol dependency needs
  • Other information relevant to their safety and wellbeing

These assessments determine whether the new prisoner will go to the First Night Centre or the Detoxification Unit. Click here for more information about the first night.

First phone calls

Prisoners are given the opportunity to make a phone call on the day of arrival (depending on public protection requirements), either to contact their legal adviser or to deal with urgent domestic issues, such as childcare, or to advise a family member of where they are being held. If necessary a member of staff will make the call on their behalf to check that the recipient is happy to receive the call in the first place. Prisoners are also given the opportunity of £2 of phone credits, which is repayable. Prisoners are also given the option of a small smoking pack or shop pack worth £2.50, which must be repaid by the prisoner.

Arrival, assessment and first night assessments

The initial arrival, assessment and first night in prison can be difficult for prisoners new to custody. Our experienced and skilled staff listen to the prisoners’ concerns and help them to manage any urgent issues, particularly those that may be a direct result of their imprisonment.