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Prisoner's rights

Starting your sentence

Minimum entitlements

Corrections Act 2004, ss 69-78; Prison Operations Manual, F.01.01

Every prisoner has the following minimum entitlements:

  • at least 1 hour of physical exercise each day (this can be in the open air if you choose and the weather is good enough)
  • a bed with enough bedding for warmth and comfort
  • healthy food and drink
  • water whenever you need it
  • as far as possible, food and drink that fits with your religious or cultural needs
  • access to at least 1 visitor each week for at least 30 minutes
  • access to a lawyer and other statutory visitors
  • medical treatment reasonably equivalent to what you would get on the outside
  • ability to send and receive mail
  • ability to make at least 1 phone call per week for at least 5 minutes
  • access to news, library services and further education (only some education will be free).

Corrections Regulations 2005 regs 67, Schedules 2-3

In your cell you must have:

  • artificial and natural lighting
  • bed
  • desk and seat*
  • proper heating
  • a mirror or reflective surface (like polished stainless steel)*
  • power outlet*
  • running water and hand washing facilities*
  • toilet*
  • privacy screen
  • storage area and shelves*
  • appropriate fresh air or air conditioning
  • fire detector
  • intercom, alarm, or call button

*these Items may not be in all older cells, but they are required as far as it is practicable to include them.

If you are in segregation for your physical or mental health then your cell may contain less items.

Can any of my minimum entitlements be taken away?

In some cases they can be taken away temporarily and only if it is reasonable to do so. See “Pandemics and emergencies” for more information on what is reasonable

  • All the minimum entitlements can be temporarily removed if:
    • there is an emergency in the prison
    • the security of the prison is threatened
    • the health and safety of any person is threatened.
  • Your right to exercise can be removed for up to two days if you are being transported to and from court or on temporary release and it is not practicable to give you exercise time.
  • You can lose your right to visitors, phone calls, education and information while you are on a punishment of cell confinement. Cell confinement is different to segregation.
  • For more information, see the chapter “Discipline and punishments inside prison”
  • You can lose your right to education and information if you are in segregation and it is believed that you may damage property.
  • Some of your entitlements may not apply if you are in a police jail if it’s not practicable to provide those entitlements at the police jail. There are limits on how long you can be kept in a police jail. (Note: you always have access to a bed and bedding, food and drink, a lawyer and medical treatment while you are in a police jail.)

To find out more about police jails, see “Before your sentence starts

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