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Handling Crimes in Prison – new protocol

Handling Crimes in Prison – new protocol

Prison law expert Lesley-Anne Perry examines a new agreement for Handling Crimes in Prison.

Protocol for handling crimes in prison has been set out in a recent agreement that aims to improve the investigation and prosecution of offences committed in prison.  Of course, imprisonment itself does not stop some people from committing offences whilst in prison. Equally, whether you are victim of an offence or a perpetrator, you still have rights whilst in prison.

So, what happens when a crime occurs inside a prison? Any offence is dealt with:

  • by the prison governor, using the prison’s internal disciplinary procedure; or
  • by a police investigation, which may lead to a prosecution.

A prisoner has the right to free representation, so contact one of Wells Burcombe’s Prison Law experts for immediate advice.  Call our London office in West Drayton on 01895 449288, or Hertfordshire office in St Albans on 01727 840900. Alternatively, fill in our or fill in our enquiry form.

Handling Crimes in Prison agreement

The Handling Crimes in Prison agreement is between Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), the National Police Chief’s Council and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The aim of the agreement is to provide improved and consistent performance in the referral, investigation and prosecution of offences in a custodial setting. It seeks to ensure that acts of criminality occurring in prison are properly addressed within the criminal justice system. This is in respect of cases where the prison decides that the internal prison disciplinary process would be insufficient. Moreover, the circumstances indicate that a criminal prosecution is appropriate.

The decision whether to call the police to investigate is made by the prison governor using guidelines provided by HMPPS. It is dependant on the nature and seriousness of the alleged offence.

Who does the new agreement cover?

The agreement covers crimes committed in prison by:

  • prisoners
  • staff
  • social and professional visitors
  • contractors

It applies to all prison and Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) and to Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) operated by HMPPS.

What crimes must be reported to police?

The agreement sets out circumstances when the prison is expected to contact the police immediately. This includes a serious incident such as a sudden death, life threatening injury, serious assault, active escape or serious disorder. The agreement sets out a full list of examples. It cites issues such as riots and prison mutiny, as well as unlawful imprisonment (hostage taking). It also includes drug possession with intent to supply and the conveyance of firearms into or out of prison. Additionally, it covers the possession of mobile phones, in respect of prisoners identified as high-priority through the Prisoner Risk Assurance Service (PRAS) or subject to Lifetime Offender Management (LOM).

There may also be other offences where a referral to the police is required. Although these should be considered on a case by case basis, the agreement sets out some clear guidelines on the types and seriousness of incident. Possession of a knife, bladed or offensive weapon is an example.

Talk to a Prison Law expert

The fact you are in prison doesn’t mean that you don’t have any rights. Wells Burcombe’s Prison Law experts help protect the rights of prisoners and ensure they are fully and fairly represented.

So, what should you do if you are in prison and are the victim of a crime? Or, if you have been accused of committing a crime? If you are being interviewed by the police, you are entitled to a free solicitor/representative to assist you. Our Prison Law experts have in-depth experience and understanding of the system. Our primary aim is to resolve the issue in an understandable manner that achieves the best possible outcome for both you and your family.

Contact Lesley-Anne Perry or speak to any of our Prison Law experts by calling our London office in West Drayton on 01895 449288, or Hertfordshire office in St Albans on 01727 840900, or fill in our enquiry form.

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