Prison Rules for Inmates

Updated February 21, 2017

Prisons are some of the most difficult institutions to manage. Prison occupants have already shown an unwillingness to follow rules, hence their reason for being there. Prison guards are required under law to provide prisoners with basic accommodations and must be able to keep prisoners safe. In order to get prisoners to cooperate, prisoners are given rewards in the form of reduced sentences and other privileges, and are punished through disciplinary action.


Prisoners are not allowed to detain, capture or hold hostage other inmates for any reason. They are also not allowed to engage in any kind of assault or sexual act. Moreover, they are not allowed to participate in riots.


Attempting to escape from prison can result in disciplinary action. Prisoners are also not allowed to be in any unauthorised location. Failing to go to bed at the indicated time and failure to obey orders can also lead to disciplinary action.


Prisoners are not allowed to bribe prison guards and cannot solicit favours from prison guards. They are also not allowed to threaten or engage through extortion.

Prohibited Items

Inmates are not allowed to possess or manufacture explosives, incendiary devices, controlled substances, alcohol, recording devices, items designed for escape, weapons or tobacco in a tobacco-free prison. Inmates in facilities that allow cash cannot carry more than £26 with any time. Some prisons have a debit card system. All property owned by prisoners must be authorised, and any property not authorised is contraband and subject to confiscation.

Allowed Possessions

Inmates are always allowed eyeglasses, approved religious items, one watch, one wedding or engagement ring, one radio, personal hygiene products, pictures, personal mail, a wallet, legal papers, tennis shoes, shower shoes and work boots. Some prisons allow some personal clothing. All other property must be approved. Inmates are allowed a reasonable amount of reading material. Prison cells must have bedding and must have adequate lighting, ventilation and temperature.

Security Levels

Minimum custody prisoners are allowed to leave the prison for work- or school-related programs as long as they are under supervision. Medium custody prisoners must be watched at all times by armed supervisors when outside of the prison. Close custody prisoners are under the most restrictions and are only taken out of the prison if absolutely necessary. They must always be under armed supervision.

Emergency Leave

Prisoners in minimum custody are allowed to leave the prison for up to 72 hours under emergency circumstances, such as the illness or death of an immediate family member. Medium and close custody inmates can only leave for 24 hours. When leaving the state, the inmate usually must be under minimum custody and must post a cash bond of £325. Inmates who behave well in prison can have days deducted from their sentences. Prisoners have extra time reduced by aiding in emergency situations.


Whenever prisoners are placed in confinement, the prisoner’s identity and reason for confinement must be recorded. Prisoners must not be discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, language or political opinion. Women must be separated from men in confinement, and untried prisoners must be kept separate from convicted prisoners. Younger prisoners must be separated from older prisoners. Prisoners should not be imprisoned with those whom they are likely to have violent problems with. Violent prisoners must have their own cells to protect other prisoners.

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About the Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer since 2009. He has a B.S. in literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written the ebooks "Karate You Can Teach Your Kids," "Macadamia Growing Handout" and "The Raw Food Diet."