Glossary Supplement: Rule 47

Discipline & Regulations

When a prisoner breaks the rules, she is sent to the segregation unit, consisting of several bare cells known as 'the Block'. Whilst there, the women often have their privileges withdrawn and are denied Association (periods when prisoners can mix with each other, watch TV, bathe etc.).

There is a statutory prison procedure when a rule has been broken. A prisoner is called to an 'adjudication'. This is a disciplinary hearing when a governor grade will question the woman, then administer punishment—loss of privileges, being sent to The Block, or put 'on strips' etc. The summary justice administered in prison has long been a cause of concern among penal reformers.

Many believe that the 'strip cell' and the 'strip dress' are becoming accepted as part of the normal control and restraint procedure. (All officers are trained in Control & Restraint Techniques.)

There is a process which allows women to appeal against injustices, but few women have faith in the procedure. Prisoners have to complete R and C forms—Request and Complaint forms—if they want to make a formal complaint. There is a Prison Ombudsman to deal with the final stages of a prisoner's grievance.

Rule 47 sets out the offences against prison discipline, which can be summarised as follows:

detaining another person
denying an officer access to part of the prison
intentionally endangering health of others
obstructing an officer
breaking rules of temporary release
possessing an unauthorised article
selling an article to another prisoner
selling one of her own possessions
taking another prisoner's belongings
setting fire to the prison
destroying or damaging property
not being in the right place at the right time
being disrespectful to an officer or visitor
using abusive & threatening or insulting words or behaviour
refusing to work/work properly
disobeying orders
disobeying rules
offending against Good Order and Discipline (GOAD)
committing/inciting others to commit any of the offences above

There are seven main punishments that can be inflicted on a prisoner:

loss of privileges for up to 42 days
stopping wages for up to 42 days
confinement in cell for up to 14 days
up to 42 extra days in prison
exclusion from work
(for unconvicted prisoners who escape) loss of the right to wear own clothes

If a prisoner breaks the rules, she must be charged within 48 hours. (Rule 48).

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