A Right to Justice

legal advice and representation for prisoners

Useful information

Prison Law is often complex and difficult to understand. You may not have regular access to a phone or be able to get the forms required whilst you are in prison. A Right to Justice are specialists in the Prison law field and we take each case on its own merit no matter how small or how big a case may be we have the know-how to get you through the process as smoothly and quickly as possible.

This page will give you further information on many of the topics you will encounter in the judicial processes of prison law. If you can't find the information on this page you can contact us here.

It may be that you have been requested to attend the Police Station for questioning at a pre-arranged time, but on most occasions the Police will come and arrest you at any location. This in itself can be an extremely traumatic experience. Do not say anything in relation to what you are being accused off until you are legally represented and everything is being recorded. Do not be fooled in to thinking that just because an officer is being pleasant and sympathetic towards you that it will help your situation, it will not. They have a job to do which should be based on facts. Be polite and courteous, this will help to make your time in custody more comfortable. If you have been requested to attend a Police Station on a pre-arranged date it is advisable to have the minimum amount of possessions with you, this will help speed up things when you are being processed by the Duty Sergeant.

You will be taken to a Police Station that is usually local to you unless the accusation is 'very serious' in which case you could be taken to a Police Station that is within the area where the alleged crime took place. Your life will feel as though it is being sucked away from you and you will feel very isolated. Stay calm, quiet and don't argue about anything anything under any circumstance. You will be taken to the duty desk where you will be checked in prior to questioning. Here you will be processed, which basically means that you will be searched and asked for details.

It is very important that you get the correct representation prior to any questioning by the Police, they cannot question you until you have a solicitor of your choice so do NOT rush. We would advise you to not use a Duty Solicitor especially if you are being arrested in connection with a sexual crime or any other serious crime. Having the correct representation at the start cannot be underestimated and do not allow anyone to convince you otherwise. Contact A Right to Justice on 0800 779 7138 immediately

You will be placed in a cell until you have legal representation and you are ready to be questioned by the Police. Again, try and keep calm no matter how long you are there and how bad things may seem. When your legal representation arrives at the Police Station you will be given time to meet in private with them. It is VERY important that you are honest with your Legal Representative regarding any involvement in relation to the accusation(s) against you. The correct Legal Team will work in your best interests but in order for them to do this they must know everything.

When you are ready to be questioned you will be taken to an interview room. Usually present will be you, your legal representative and two Police Officers. You will be read your rights by one of the Officers and then questioned. From this point onwards everything will be recorded. Keep your answers brief, factual, do not argue, do not elaborate your answers and keep to the facts. Once the questioning has finished you will either be allowed to leave subject to Police Bale and asked to return on a specified date, you may be held for further questioning or charged by the Police.

The Officer in charge of your case will give you details of their Police Number and also a telephone number which you can use to contact them if needed. If you try and contact the Officer it is more than probable that you will have to leave a message on his/her voice mail. The Officer has an obligation to respond to any messages you leave for them. If they do not respond after several attempts do not be afraid of reporting this to their Senior Officer, they have a protocol that must be adhered to.

You have been questioned by the Police and you are being released on Police Bale while the Police investigate the allegations against you further.

You will be given details of your Bale Conditions and a date and time will be given for you to return to the Police Station. It may be that the Police do not require to question you again on the arranged Bale date and in theory the investigating officer should contact you to inform you of this so you do not arrange to be accompanied by a legal representative. Unfortunately, whether you are contacted to be informed about this will depend on the professionalism and decency of the investigating officer.

When you are initially released on Bale you will be given contact details for your investigating officer and this officer has an obligation to call you back in response to any message you may leave for them. If the officer or the Police in general do not follow their guide lines in any way DO NOT be afraid to lodge a complaint with the Senior Officer of the station. Do not be worried that complaining will make things more difficult for you or you may upset the investigating officer, at the end of the day you should be released or charged on the evidence obtained by the Police during their investigation and presented to the CPS.

When you return to the Police Station on the specified date contained within your Bale conditions and unless you have been informed that you will not be questioned on this date you must be sure to have legal representation with you.

Returning to the Police Station on your Bale date may result in you being asked to return on another date because the Police have not finished conducting their enquiries, you may be questioned again and subsequently charged, given Bale again or released without any charge or simply told that the case is being dropped and you are free to go.

If you are charged you will be returned to the Duty Sergeant who will decide if you are allowed to be released on Police Bale or detained in Police custody until you go before a Judge in the local Magistrates Court.

If you are taken in to Police custody you will remain within a Police cell until you are able to go before a local Magistrate, this will usually be within a few days.

You have been charged on some or all of the accusations put to you. As stated in the Police Bale section of this site you will either be released on Police Bale and given a date to attend a Magistrates Court or taken in to Police custody until you attend a Magistrates Court. The Magistrates Court will then decide whether you are allowed to remain on Bale or be placed on Remand which means you will be sent to a Local Prison until your trial commences.

One thing to be aware of is that although you may be charged by the Police on a specified amount of crimes it could be that by the time you attend a Magistrates Court these charges may be broken down in to several more charges. The following example is taken from an actual case where the defendant was charged on 4 counts of sexual assault but by the time the defendant attended the Magistrates Court the CPS dissected the 4 counts and increased the charges to 14! This obviously gives the CPS a better chance of a conviction.

A Right to Justice will fight to ensure you get the best possible treatment throughout the whole trial and sentencing process. We will fight to ensure that correct proceedures are met and that you are treated fairly.

When you are found guilty by a Jury one of two things can happen.

  • The Judge can sentence you on the same day. You can be given a custodial sentence or a suspended sentence which will mean that you are allowed to go home after the Court hearing.
  • The Judge will sentence you on a later date, usually between 3 to 6 weeks from the day the trial ends. He may ask for certain reports to be made before deciding on a sentence. You would normally always be asked to do a Pre-Sentence Report which is carried out by your designated Probation Officer. Click here for more details regarding PSR's. Usually you will be held on remand at the local prison but on some occasions you will be granted Court Bale and told to return on a specified date for Sentencing.

When you have been found guilty of a crime we will need to prepare a very good sentencing speech which he will read to the court on the day of sentencing. If your Barrister is not up to the mark this could mean the difference between you getting a 'guilty' or a 'not guilty' verdict, a suspended sentence or a much reduced sentence and a sentence at the top end of the sentencing guide lines. We will discuss this with you in plenty of time prior to the sentencing hearing.

Sentencing Hearing

If you have been granted Bale prior to your sentencing then it is adviseable to have £50 with you and if possible wear footwear that will be both comfortable with track suit bottoms and to live in. More detail about this is available in our PRISON section. This money will allow you to purchase some telephone credit when you first go in to prison. Apart from that it is advisable to have very little else with you of any value.

The Sentencing Hearing does not usually last very long, usually between 15 minutes and 1 hour. The Prosecution Barrister will give their speech followed by our Defence Barrister. After this the judge will summarise the session's events and commence to give sentence. If you are given a custodial sentence you will be taken to the courts holding cells until transport can be arranged to take you back to the prison where you are being held. If you have not been held on remand and especially if this is your first time in court then the wait in the holding cell can be very traumatic. No matter how bad things will seem at the time, it will get better over a period of time.

After you have been sentenced and left the court room your Barrister should speak with you and advice if he feels that there are any grounds for an appeal to be lodged on your behalf. This should also be presented to you in writing. You will have 28 days from the time of sentencing in which you can for a 'leave of appeal'. Trying to Appeal after the 28 days can be very difficult although not impossible providing you have good reason for not doing it within the 28 days.

It may be that you are entering Prison for either of the reasons below:

  • You have been charged by the Police and Bale has been refused by the Magistrate's Court. You will be held at a local prison on remand until the time of your trial. In some circumstances an application can be made by your Legal Team to a Crown Court for 'Conditional Court Bale' to be granted.
  • You have been found guilty by a Jury at your trial and the Judge has set a future date for sentencing. Bale has been refused by the Judge and you will be remanded to a local prison until your sentencing date.

You are going to Prison. What do you expect? Well, everyone is different but the prospect of Prison for many people can be terrifying. We hope the following information will help prepare you for time that you may have to spend in Prison. The first link below is the Government web site about Prison Life which is the 'official' version. We will supplement this information from a practical viewpoint.

More info

Prison Life (Government Website)

Get the help you need

We cannot stress enough how important it is to have the best representation when it comes to Prison Law, matters of the Courts, Trials and Sentencing. Make A Right to Justice your first point of contact from the moment of arrest right through to trial and sentencing if it gets that far. Remember a good qualified barrister on your side could mean the difference between a sentence and a fine, so give us a call today.

For all aspects of Prison Law Contact Us Here

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