Prison Rules and Jargon

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When you first come into the prison, it can take a bit of time to get used to the prison regime and rules.  Here is a little bit of information about prison rules and jargon to help you get started.  This list does not cover everything and you will find more information in your induction book.  Prison rules are designed to help everyone. 

Prison Rules

  • The prison does not tolerate any violence or poor behaviour so you must treat all prisoners and staff with respect, regardless of their individual characteristics.
  • There is no smoking allowed in the prison, except in your cell. This means you must not smoke on the landings.
  • When you come out of your cell, you must be fully dressed and wearing shoes/trainers.
  • Do not borrow tobacco or snacks from anyone else in the prison; you could get into trouble with prison and could face warnings or adjudications. Also if you borrow something from another prisoner, most expect you to pay at least double back (this is called ‘double bubble’) and so you will quickly get into debt.  Sometimes when people are in debt, they may face threats or intimidation from others.
  • The possession and use of any drugs (unless prescribed by healthcare) or alcohol is not allowed in prison. The prison does regular searching and testing.  You should not give or receive medication from anyone else in the prison.
  • ‘Association’ is the time you are allowed out of your cell. You will hear 2 bells at the end of association.  After the first bell, you must make your way back to your cell.  By the second bell, you need to be back in your cell.
  • Your cell call bell is for emergencies only.
  • You should call prison officers and Governors by their surname, e.g. Mr/Mrs Smith/Gov Smith. Most agency staff (such as Resettlement and Addaction) will introduce themselves by their first name and you can call them by this.

Prison jargon

‘Boss’/’Gov’ – what male prison staff are called if people do not know their name.

‘Miss’ – what female prison staff are called if people do not know their name.

Padmate – person you share your cell with.

HDC – home detention curfew – the date you could get released on tag, if the prison agrees this is suitable.

ARD – automatic release date – the date you get released, usually half way through your sentence.

BCST – basic custody screening tool – this is an interview usually done by an Offender Supervisor the day after you arrive in prison.  This is followed by a second interview with the Through the Gate team within 8 days of you arriving in the prison.

Meds – medication

Assoc – association time

IMB – Independent Monitoring Board, group of people who monitor the daily life in prison to ensure everyone is being treated fairly.  You can request to see the IMB by putting in an application to them

General app – general application; a form available from all wing offices that you can use to ask for support from services or make general requests to the prison.

Comp 1 – complaints forms, also available from any wing office.

OMU – offender management unit, the team of offender supervisors and probation staff within the prison

OS – offender supervisor, your allocated person in OMU.

OM – Offender Manager, your outside probation officer.

Family visits – special visits, just for families, with extra activities during the school holidays.  The dates for family visits can be found in each wing office.  You need to apply for these in advance.

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