By: Simon B
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If you have sent to prison by the UK Court system, your rights and any restrictions of those rights are covered by the Prison Act 1952 and Prison Rules 1999. You have the right to access your solicitor, food, clothes, exercise, at least two visits a month (to be booked in advance), to send and receive at least one letter a week, and to a fair hearing if a disciplinary problem occurs. If work is available, you can work up to ten hours a day unless you’re excused on medical grounds. The Prison Medical Service provides medical and dental treatment.
When you go to prison, you’re categorised as an A, B, C, or D, prisoner. Category A prisoners are the highest risk and have extra security restrictions (These could be convicted murders or terrorists). Category D prisoners are the least risk (minor theft or repeat offenders). Categories can be reviewed and changed depending on your behaviour.
You don’t have the right to choose the prison you go to, but you may be able to apply for a transfer if your location poses your family big problems – for example, your parents can’t travel to visit you because of age or disability.
You can be segregated from the other prisoners if you request it for your “own protection or if the prison authorities think it’s advisable because you’re causing bad behaviour and poor discipline. You can’t be segregated for more than three days without the authority of the Board of Visitors or the Secretary of State.
Women prisoners may be allowed to keep their babies with them up to 9- or 18-months-old, depending on which prison they’re in. That limit may be stretched in some circumstances. Women prisoners don’t have to wear a prison uniform.
Remand prisoners who haven’t been convicted have more rights than convicted prisoners. They don’t have to work unless they want to; they’re allowed to wear their own clothes and are allowed as many visits as they like on at least three days a week and are allowed a weekend visit at least once every two weeks. They can also send and receive as many letters as they like. They can also use the Prison Medical Service or be treated by their own doctor or dentist.
Young people in young offender’s institutions are subject to similar rules to adults. If they’re under 17, they are given at least 15 hours of education or training each week.