Canteen sheets are issued on a weekly basis in order for prisoners to order food items/toiletries. The amount you are allowed to spend will vary from prison to prison as will the items that will be allowed.
If difficulty is experienced the VPSG can assist prisoners in trying to obtain certain vegan nutritional food items/toiletries through their canteen.
Prisoners' shops/canteens should make every effort to stock food, toiletries and other items for which there is a demand from ethnic minority prisoners. These might include oils and creams for toiletry purposes, a variety of fruit produce and items such as non-Christian greeting cards. Where prisoners request items which are not stocked, prison shops can order them through a supplier. Vegan products, especially food items and toiletries, should also be available either as a stock item or by arranging for goods to be ordered for prisoners.
In general, all items for prisoners should be purchased through the prison shop. An exception to this is made when shopping for ethnic minority goods where these would not otherwise be available [see IG 72/1994].
Advice on minority diets and wholesale outlets for the purchase of ethnic minority goods may be obtained from Supply and Transport Services, who should also be able to offer advice on the supply of vegan products.
Result of Research done by the VPSG Update March 2005
VPSG drew to the attention of both the Prison Service and Aramark that they currently continue to discriminate against vegans by not offering equal opportunities.
They are currently continuing to campaign for vegan items to be included.
However, as no decision has so far been reached, should your inmate's shop be run by this company, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of the VPSG.
You will then be taken to Healthcare and be seen by a doctor. At this point make sure that it has been put on your files that you are vegan. Also remember to inform them if you need to arrange any herbal remedies. If you are having problems in this area the VPSG may be able to help.
Shortly after your arrival you will receive from VPSG some Diet Sheet Records. This information will help assess the nutritional value of the prison food you are being provided with. It is helpful to us if prisoners complete these and return them for the full 3 / 4 week menu cycle. The Diet Sheet Records may be copied by us and used in order to ensure a nutritional diet is provided.
If individual prisoners feel they require extra vitamin requirements these should be requested through Healthcare. If this avenue is not feasible these should be ordered through the Canteen for your purchase [See note in Prison Service Guidelines] or the VPSG may be able to send you in VEG1.
Basic Nutritional Information Relating to the Vegan Diet: See Attachment 2.
Visits can be booked over the phone without a visiting order, and you will usually be allowed more visits than if convicted.
When convicted, the prisoner is usually allowed a Reception Visit in the first week after they arrive at the prison (this will depend on the individual prison so check as some stipulate that the Reception Visit must take place within the first 48 hours). For this visit a Visiting Order (V.O.) is not required, the visitor can just book the visit over the phone.
After this your visitors will be required to be in possession of a V.O., which they use to book a visit.
V.O.'s are normally issued on a weekly basis. You will get around 2-4 visits a month as a convicted prisoner. You will get more visits and longer ones when you are enhanced.
Normally there is a restriction to three adult visitors per V.O. Make sure your visitors check ID requirements for visits since these vary from prison to prison. Some prisons are very strict e.g. HMP Bronzefield visitors may be turned away if they don't have the correct I.D.
There are three status levels that you can be at as a prisoner:
Standard Prisoner: Your status on arriving at prison.
Enhanced Prisoner: This is attained by attending work or education and by general good behaviour.
Basic Prisoner: This is attained as a result of bad behaviour and will result in a loss of privileges.
The higher your status the more privileges you get, for example more visits.
For your information all behaviour in breach of prison rules is documented in your personal file during the whole sentence.
Once you have seen Sentence Planning you may be required to undertake certain courses. They can help with tagging if you are doing a sentence over 4 months and under 4 years. For any sentence over 4 years, you will be automatically released at the halfway point. For IPP sentences, speak to your lawyer.
Prison education could present you with a chance to enhance your academic abilities. It is also important as a way to keep your mind active.
There may also be the opportunity to learn computer skills which can be an advantage on your release and also A Level Courses according to the length of your sentence.
Access to Open University Courses is also a possibility with the added bonus of payment for the course being available from the Prison Education Trust. If a second OU is undertaken the Home Office will pay. Prisons won't pay for correspondence courses until you are sentenced.