Preparing to enter Gaol: Lawyers Advice

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In some circumstances, it may be inevitable that an individual will be either remanded in custody or sentenced to a period of full-time imprisonment. In the event this happens to you or a loved one, we have prepared some important considerations to make this time more manageable.

 

Before the Bail or Sentence Date

If you are facing the prospect of serving time in gaol one of the most important decisions that will need to be made is the person you nominate to attend to your personal affairs whilst you are in custody.

You may have to sign a Power of Attorney appointing someone who can act on your behalf whilst you are in custody. If this is something you are considering, you should seek legal advice before appointing someone to act as your Power of Attorney.

 

On the Bail or Sentence Date

On the day of your bail application or sentence, it would be preferable to have the following:

  • A list of phone numbers written on a piece of paper so that this can be put into your address book by Corrective Services;
  • Cash (less than $100.00) to be deposited into your account to pay for calls or other purchases to make life a little bit easier;
  • A note/letter from your doctor that outlines any prescription medication you are taking, so that this document can be provided to the nurse at the Correctional Centre; and
  • Reading glasses (if required).

 

Classification of prisoners

Classification is the process of determining the level of security for each person entering custody. People entering custody will then usually be placed in a correctional centre that serves that classification unless they experience over-crowding or being transported for a court appearance or assessment commitments.

 

Male Classification levels

A1 and A2 – maximum security

If classified, these inmates are always within secure physical barriers, such as walls, towers, electronic surveillance

 

B – medium security

There are physical barriers, but lower walls and less security than maximum. Inmates may also have longer visits

 

C – minimum security

C1 – prisoners confined unless with an officer

C2 – can do community projects under supervision

C3 – can go into the community without supervision on day or weekend leave, education leave or work release.

 

Women Classification levels

Category 4

Continuous supervision within walls

 

Category 3

Behind a physical barrier unless supervised

 

Category 2

may not be behind a barrier but will be supervised. Can do community projects under supervision

 

Category 1

can go into the community without supervision on day or weekend leave, education leave or work release

 

For Friends and Families

When a friend or family member is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, it can at times be very difficult to contact them. Here are a few suggestions to assist this process.

 

Locating A Prisoner

To establish which prison a person is being held in, you need to know the MIN and/or date of birth of the person you are trying to locate. If you don’t know their MIN you need their full name. It also helps if you are a member of their immediate family

 

If you have any questions about a transfer, ring the Inmate Placement Office on PH (02) 8346 1000.

 

Sending Money

Those in custody require money to pay for phone calls or order items such as toiletries, additional food, clothing, tobacco, papers and personal items. Inmates are not allowed to have money or other items, such as stamps, in their possession. Rather, all purchases are deducted directly from their prison account.

 

To deposit money, you need to know the prisoner’s full name, their MIN or date of birth. You will also need your own ID with your address on it and your visitor information number.

 

Individuals in custody can only receive up to $100 a week in total for their personal use and only have a maximum of $100 in their account. If you send any more, it will be put into another account and they won’t be able to use it until they are released from gaol.

 

Inmate Transfers

Finding out that a friend or family member is being transferred to another correctional facility can be distressing, especially if that makes it harder to visit, or makes them feel unsafe.

 

To request or object to a transfer, a prisoner needs to go to a wing officer, welfare or services and programs officer and get an application form (bluey). They need to write why they do or don’t want to be transferred. This form is then given to the classifications officer for consideration.

 

Reasons for requesting or opposing a transfer might be:

 

  • The prison is too far for family and friends to visit, or there is no public transport
  • Family or friends can’t get to prison because of disability
  • The prisoner is afraid for their safety because of other prisoners.

 

It is important to know that transfers can be difficult given the finite resources of New South Wales Corrective Services and the process can take several months.

 

If you or someone you know needs advice or representation for a bail application or sentence, contact the team at Hamilton Janke Lawyer 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 4038 1666.

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