Prison transfers
Produced in partnership with Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors
Prison transfers

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Prison transfers
  • Can a prisoner request a transfer?
  • How does a prisoner apply for a transfer?
  • How long does the transfer process take?
  • Is appeal available?
  • Legal challenges to prison allocations

Can a prisoner request a transfer?

Prisoners in England and Wales (either on remand or after conviction) can lawfully be held in any prison and there is no legal right to be held in or transferred to a prison of their choice.

Following conviction, all prisoners must be categorised (see Practice Note: Prisoner categorisation) and this process also requires an initial decision to be made on allocation. Prison Service Instructions (PSI) 39-41/2011 provide guidance on this procedure for adult males, women prisoners and young offenders. The aim is for the process to be completed within one month of conviction and for a suitable allocation to be made. Specific guidance is given to the relevant factors to be taken into account including public protection issues such as safeguarding children and harassment issues.

There is very little policy guidance on the factors to be taken into account when deciding on a prisoner’s initial allocation or transfer. The Prison Rules 1999 (Prison Rules), SI 1999/728 make it a requirement that ‘special attention’ is paid to maintaining family relationships. Previous policy documents indicated that domestic circumstances area relevant factor but the only current guidance on the management of sentences simply states that the Oasis document (which does contain some information about a prisoner’s personal circumstances outside of prison) must be taken into account