You have been stood up and heard your the Chairman of the Magistrates Bench, or the District Judge or the Judge in a Crown Court say some things about you. They might or might not be true but you have no right to challenge them. Then come those terrible words - "Take him down". You might have noticed that the court usher has blocked the exit from the court, a dock attendant might have taken your arm. You will walk through a door at the back of the court and as you do so you move from the plush court surroundings of warmth, humanity and politeness to cold concrete and gloss painted walls echoing as you walk down the never ending stairs.
Your dignity, rights and personal esteem will whither away from you and time and distance become past dreams. If this is your first prison sentence it will be frightening and I am told it gets little better for repeated visits. Forget the Mr or Mrs titles you will now be known only by your last name. Swear words will be uttered in every sentence.
It is likely that the court staff at this stage are private security staff from, for example, Group Four. Their tendency is to be more polite than Prison Staff. As you approach the desk you will be told where you are going and then you will be given a brief body rub down to see if you have any objects to which they will take objection or with which you could injure yourself. This can be an item as small as a tie pin. These will be taken off you and you will need to sign for them. You will be held in a cell of isolation.
Your solicitor will come to see you in your cell or more usually an interview room to discuss your options of appeal or what you are facing. You have three weeks in which to appeal. You can hand to him anything you do not want in prison or which will be taken off you when you arrive at prison. I would suggest you keep with you any money you have on you so that this can be used as "Private Cash" in prison to purchase small luxuries such as tooth paste. I found having a pen and paper was useful in the long boring days ahead and before you can buy your own. I wished I had kept my watch. Prison runs by time and without a watch I found I was lost.
After your solicitor visit you will then be searched again and have items of personal property taken off you including your money. You will need to sign for it and it will follow you to prison. You should be allowed to keep cigarettes though probably not a lighter. You will then be held in a communal cell although you do have the right to isolation.
One family visit is allowed and this is either in an accompanied place or behind a glass screen. Time for tears perhaps. Remember your loved ones will probably be more upset than you and unlike you, they will have to face local reaction. This can be cruel depending upon your offence.
Then the long wait. You have a right to be fed and have a drink if you are there over a meal period. If you are feeling ill you have a right to receive medical treatment. Take care, all the other prisoners are on edge, fights can break out. Keep yourself to yourself. Any bravado is just that. However, minutes will see like hours.
Group 4 or the local prison transport contractor will eventually take you to prison.