How to go to Jail
Your case in Court
Leaving Prison
Life Outside

First Night

The First Night Cell (FNC) is maybe 10ft by 14ft with a stainless steel sink and toilet.  Beds are old fashioned steel bunk beds and your cell will take two of you.  The cell will stink of the previous occupants, particularly if they smoke.  If you are lucky an attempt will have been made to clean it, if not you will see the evidence of the previous occupants in the toilet.

You will soon realise that the bed has seen better days, even if there ever were any better days.  It will be uncomfortable and almost certainly too short for anyone over 5ft 8".  A couple of blankets is hardly enough to keep your warm.  Worse still you will freeze in winter nights if the previous occupant has broken the window.  In summer you could boil.  Despite this the constant flow of warmish air will dry the place up and you with it.  Dehydration can be a problem.

Teatime at 4-30pm was your last meal of the day so there is nothing until breakfast at 8am.  Don't look forward to anything much - breakfast in a reception prison can be very little.

You will be able to hear people outside going about their activities, at this time you might be there for Association but you will be locked away out of site and not be able to see out.  Whilst in the FNC you are not allowed out.

When bed time comes you will realise you sleep in the clothes you stand up in.  Do try to keep up standards of cleanliness, it is very easy to drop into a slovenly stinking mess.

Each cell is equipped with a push button to call the Prison Officer.  It says use in an emergency only and you are threatened with report if you push it just to make an enquiry.  So I decided not to push the bell but when I missed something I was told off for not pushing it.  It is impossible to win.  You are in the wrong, the PO is right.

If you are suicidal you will be watched every two hours so even if you do manage to get to sleep you will be awake every time a Prison Officer lifts up the flap on the spy holes, on will come the light and he will watch until he sees you breathing.  If he cannot see you breathing the Prison Officer will unlock the door and wake you up guaranteeing that you will be awake - or dead!  If all is well the PO then slams the flap down hard.  So now your two hourly check has been done you have two hours in which to lose your life.  In this time you will hear the POs responding to every other timed examination of the prisoners and responses to emergency bells.

Don't do it!  There is always help at hand.  Press the emergency button at any time and ask for help.  The Listeners Scheme will keep you alive or ask for the Priest.

In my local prison breakfast was a bowl of "own label" cereal with UHT milk and a cup of luke warm tea.  Only at weekend in my prison did you get a cooked breakfast.  Ironically work was done during the week when you would have thought that a cooked breakfast would be appropriate, rest was weekend when the cooked breakfast was on the menu.

So the first day has begun and during this day you should be moved, but don't count on it.  I spent 7 nights on FNC with no exercise, no association, no books, no papers - nothing but your cell mate.