The First Night

Prisons all work on strict timetables. The majority of prisons lock the cell door at around 6pm at night and it remains shut until 8am. Once the door is locked it is almost impossible to speak with an officer unless it is an emergency, and your cell will have a call button. You can call an officer and ask to speak with a LISTENER , who has been trained by the Samaritans, if you feel you have the need.

If you arrive at the wing before the evening meal is served at around 5pm you will be unlocked and told to join a queue at the servery for the meal. Most prisons offer a limited choice of food but as you are new you will be given whatever they have the most left. Depending on which prison you are in and what day of the week it is you may be given a breakfast pack and a tea/coffee pack. When you have been given the food you will be returned to your cell, the door relocked and you will eat in the cell.

The first night will pass very slowly as it has done for countless 1000’s of prisoners before. All the tales of the horror of prison will pass through your mind; you will have seen the famous film, The Shawshank Redemption and you will fear what will become of you. It would be dishonest to pretend that there is not violence and assault within prison and much of what does occur never reaches the press. The prison staff are concerned about your safety while in prison and have systems in place to keep you safe; if you seek confrontation while in prison you will certainly find it but if you try and avoid it you will be able to do so.

Unlock in the morning is around 8am depending on your wing and prison. Prisoners are all required to work or undertake education whilst in custody however new prisoners spend the first week of the sentence undergoing induction.

Return to the first weeks in custody