Women are safe at all times throughout their transfer and early days in prison. They are treated with respect and well cared for. Individual risks and needs are identified and addressed, including care of any dependants. Women are given additional support on their first night and induction is comprehensive.

5. Women are transferred safely and in accordance with their individual needs.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Subject to well-evidenced security reasons women are given advance notice of their transfer and are able to inform someone of their move to the prison.
  • Women can make direct contact with their dependants or those who care for their dependants to make suitable arrangements for them prior to their transfer to the prison (see Appendix I, note iv).
  • Women are given information about the prison they are going to and understand where it is in relation to their home area.
  • Escort staff are aware of women’s individual needs. All necessary information identifying any issues relating to risk, including self-harm, is recorded in the person escort record which accompanies women on their journey to the prison.
  • Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth, including those who will be separated from their child or have already been separated, are given information at court which is specific to their needs. This includes detailed information about the process for applying to a mother and baby unit and support in applying.
  • Women are transported in suitable escort vehicles to meet individual needs, including for: pregnant women and women with babies; women with disabilities; those who have experienced previous trauma which makes use of cellular vehicles inappropriate.
  • Women are transported in separate vehicles to men and with a female escort.
  • Escort vehicles are safe, clean and meet the needs of individual women, including the provision of sanitary and other hygiene products.
  • Women are offered comfort breaks. The frequency of stops considers individual circumstances and needs, for example health, disabilities, and breastfeeding.
  • Women understand how to make a complaint about their treatment during escort and are supported in doing so.

6. Women feel and are safe on their arrival at the prison and throughout their early days.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Women are offered the opportunity to speak to a female officer while in reception and on their first night. Wherever possible this is in a language they understand, using translation if necessary.
  • Women are not locked in holding rooms in reception unless it is necessary.
  • Women have free access to peer workers on arrival.
  • Women receive food and drink while waiting in reception.
  • The reception and first night units provide an environment that is safe. They are designed and operate to minimise the risk of contributing to or causing trauma.
  • All searches are undertaken by staff of the same sex as the prisoner.
  • Searches are undertaken with respect and in private.
  • Women are not routinely strip-searched. The use of strip searching is based on credible intelligence and is properly authorised. Operational policy and practice are reviewed at regular intervals.
  • Strip searches never take place within sight of staff of a different sex to the prisoner.
  • Women have a comprehensive safety interview in reception with a clear focus on risks, including self-harm and suicide. All necessary steps are taken to minimise risks.
  • Women receive a health screening by health care staff as part of the reception process.
  • Women receive all the basic equipment and supplies they need for their first days in the prison, in good condition.
  • Women who want to apply to a mother and baby unit are provided with information which is easy to understand and which explains the application, admission and separation process. They are supported in their application.

7. Women are helped and supported to address their individual concerns, needs and risks in reception and during their early days in the prison.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Women can make immediate contact with their children, families and other people who are significant to them to put in place appropriate care arrangements. More than one telephone call is allowed if needed.
  • Women who are or may be pregnant, or have been pregnant recently, are provided with information and support.
  • Women who have been recently separated from a child or have dependant children in the community are provided with information to allow them to access support services and resources.
  • All potential child safeguarding concerns are relayed to the prison safeguarding lead. Contact is made with children’s services as necessary, action is followed up and information is promptly shared with women.
  • Women understand what is going to happen to them during reception processes and can access a range of support, for example Listeners and dedicated peer workers.
  • Women receive essential reception and first night procedures regardless of their arrival time at the prison.
  • Women know about the help and support available to manage previous life experiences, for example domestic abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and traumatic events in childhood.
  • Women who may have been trafficked are identified by staff and a referral is made using the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). Referrals to the NRM are made with informed consent whenever possible.
  • Women who have been detained for their own protection are identified during reception processes and a plan is put in place to provide them with support and care. This involves a multidisciplinary team, including health representatives, with the aim of rapidly assessing the individual to make sure an appropriate placement in a suitable facility is found.

8. Women are well supported throughout their first night and complete a comprehensive programme of induction.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Women receive their property before moving to the first night unit.
  • Women are supported in moving from the reception area to the first night unit and then on to the main wing.
  • Women have unlimited access to in-cell telephones on the first night unit.
  • Women can have a shower before being locked up for their first night.
  • Women receive regular welfare checks during their first night.
  • Women complete a comprehensive induction programme that includes sessions with peer workers and starts promptly.
  • Staff involved in the induction programme are trained in understanding the impact of trauma and show a good understanding of effective practice when working with women in prison.
  • Women know where the prison is and how their visitors can get to it. They are helped to arrange their first visits.
  • Women have access to a range of community agencies to prepare for release. Technology, such as video calling, is used to promote ongoing contact.

Human rights standards

In relation to expectations 5 to 8, there are a range of human rights standards concerning arrival and early days in custody. These include requiring women to be provided with information about their place of detention in a language and format they understand, identifying their health care and other needs, ensuring their safety and allowing them to inform someone of their whereabouts. Women should be supported to make suitable care arrangements for their dependants. In addition, women must be transported safely in suitable vehicles. See ICCPR 17; ECHR 3, 5, 8; BR 2–4, 6–8; SMR 7–9, 30, 34, 54, 55, 68, 73; EPR 14–16A, 24.8–24.9, 30, 32; BOP 16. See also Council of Europe, Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member States concerning children with imprisoned parents. See also standards in relation to security.