Frequently Asked Questions


This page will endeavour to answer some of your FAQs including advice on areas including: 

  1. Early Days in Custody

  2. Contacting Home

  3. Property

  4. Safety and Decency

  5. Healthcare

  6. Complaints Process

  7. Offender Management


Early Days in Custody

What happens when a Resident arrives at the prison?
Residents will be brought into the prison and taken into the Welcome room to be greeted by the Reception Insider (fellow prisoner) who will ask them how they are feeling and let them know what the following process will be. They will be offered a free two-minute phone call to let loved ones know where they are. (please note any residents who have restraining orders/sex offences will not be allowed this phone call)

They will then follow the Reception process which includes taking fingerprints, headshots, Next of Kin details and getting your ID card etc. It’s at this point they will also receive a bedding pack which contains bedding, bowl, plate cup etc.

They will also be given the option of purchasing one of our welcome canteens including a vape and non-vape option.


What if they don’t have any clothing/ money when they arrive?
Residents who don’t have any clothes will be issued 2 sets of prison clothing. They will also be given the option of purchasing a welcome canteen and paying it back once they start employment.


Where do they spend their first night?
Once they have completed the Reception process the Reception Insider will accompany them to the Early Days in Custody Wing (any residents undertaking detox will be taken to H1 which is another Early Days Wing for substance misuse). They will introduce them to the wing insider who will show them around the wing and to their cell and explain where all the facilities are.

Over the next five days they will complete an induction programme giving them a full introduction to the prison and all of the services we offer and behaviours we expect. After they have completed the induction process they will then be escorted onto one of the main wings and the induction insider will introduce them to the wing insider who will give them a tour of the main wing and again explain all the facilities and help them to feel comfortable. 

If a Resident is suffering from substance misuse, they will have had their induction process on H1 they will then be moved onto our Eden Unit which is for detox residents.


What about Incentives status?
All Residents will be on the standard status when they arrive for the first time. Residents who have transferred from another prison and are enhanced will be able to keep that status so long as we have confirmation from the exiting prison.


Contacting Home

How do Residents phone their families?
On day one of their induction they will be given a contact form to fill in. They are permitted to submit 10 social numbers and five legal numbers. These will be checked for safeguarding and then passed onto our finance department to upload. Pin numbers can take up to 48 hours to be loaded onto the system if restrictions are in place. Residents are then permitted to add one number every 3 days until they reach the maximum of 20 social numbers and 10 legal numbers. This can be submitted via the wing kiosk app. This duration is simply to allow our finance department enough time to manage the requests.


Can Residents write to families?
Residents can send mail to their families/legal representatives by posting it into the red mailbox on the wing. Residents are advised to leave the letter unsealed and all letters will be checked by the night staff for safeguarding. Any residents on restrictions will have their mail sent to our Public Protection Unit for further checks.


When can a Resident get a visit?
A resident can apply for a face to face visit via the app on the wing kiosk. Alternatively, they can request a Purple visit (virtual) again through the app on the wing kiosk. * Covid Restrictions are currently in place and as such this process is under construction.


What does a family member need for a visit?
When they come for their visit, they must bring an appropriate form of photo ID.

Visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult who must provide the required forms of identification. The accompanying adult has responsibility for the child and for giving assurances of the child's identity.

The list of acceptable ID can be found on the website here.

Visitors must also adhere to the prison dress code which again can be found on the website.


What if a family member has a question about something?
There is a FAQ document on our website with a range of subjects however if an answer cannot be found they must email or write to the team at

HMP Forest Bank
Agecroft Road
M27 8FB

Responses can take up to 20 days.
If it’s a concern for safety, they can ring Safer Custody on 0161 925 7000 ext 2183



How does a Resident receive money?
Residents families can send money to a resident via  Please note the sender must be on the residents contact list (visits or pin phone) to send money in otherwise it will be returned. This is for safeguarding and corruption reasons.

Residents have a cap of £900 on their account any payments sent in that takes the account over that amount will be rejected.

In severe cases where a family can’t go online, they can apply for an ‘exemption’ form which must be approved via the Director and they can send it in directly to the prison.


Can a Resident earn money in prison?
Yes, we encourage all Residents to engage in employment and as such they will be paid for their time. Wages are paid weekly and are reflected against the particular job role. Residents are also paid if they engage in education on a regular basis also.

Residents will be given the option to apply for both opportunities via the wing kiosk once they arrive on the wing after their induction.

Residents are not permitted to work whilst they are on the Early Days in custody wing.


How does a Resident receive property?
Residents are allowed one clothing parcel within the first 28 day which needs to be posted into the prison by family or friends.

After this, they can purchase additional clothing from the catalogue.

If family or friends send clothing through the post, they will need to get confirmation that they are on the parcel list otherwise the items will be returned to sender or the central sorting office.

How does a Resident buy clothes?
Residents are issued a catalogue from Sports Direct where they can order items from the kiosk. Only items from the catalogue are permitted within the prison.


Can a Resident receive books?
The prison accepts books for residents sent directly from friends or family, or via our approved retailers. These are Waterstones, WH Smith and - we do not accept books purchased via Amazon. All books are subject to security protocols and must be sent separately, they cannot be accepted as part of a property parcel.


How does a Resident order his canteen?
The prison shop provides a canteen service where Residents can order things such as Vapes, Newspapers, Snacks, Toiletries, and other desirable goods. These can be ordered via the app on the wing kiosk. Canteen delivery days are different for each wing and orders can take up to 72 hours to process. The wing auxiliary can give provide more information about a particular wing’s delivery schedule.


Does the canteen list get changed?
The prison continuously reviews what is available for Residents on the canteen and regularly feeds back to the prison Uservoice council. Any requests to add things to a canteen can be submitted for the attention of Head of Residence stating the item they wish to purchase and why they feel it would benefit others.


When do residents receive meals?
Residents receive 3 meals a day with at least one being hot. The prison also provides vegetarian, vegan and religious friendly alternatives. These meals will be delivered to the wing servery where they serve it to the rest of the men. The menu endeavours to change every week but the kitchen do the best with the produce they have.


Safety & Decency

What if a family member or cellmate is seriously concerned about an individual?
If Family members are concerned that an individual is at risk of harming himself or others, they can ring Safer Custody on 0161 925 7000 extension 2183. This line is manned from 07.30-4.00pm and a member of the team will be able to assist straight away. If they need help out of this time, please call 0161 925 7000 and ask for comms stating is an urgent resident safety concern. They will need the residents name and prison ID to hand.

All cells have emergency buzzers so cellmates can report serious incidents of harm that way pressing the emergency call will request a member of staff immediately. For general concerns speak to the wing manager or the wing insider who could do a welfare check.


How often do Residents get to shower?
Residents have the opportunity to shower everyday during their regime allocation.


Will Residents get exercise?
Yes Residents have access to one hour’s exercise per day either indoors or outdoors (weather permitting). Even during a reduced regime say due to staffing, exercise or at least time outside is always prioritised.


How does a Resident get a haircut?
Prison approved clippers are available on the canteen to purchase but more often than not there is usually a resident on the wing who has a pair and will be the unofficial barber.


How does a resident replace a broken tv or replace decency items such as cup, bowl etc?
The Resident just needs to tell a member of staff who can request these items from Stores and in most cases are delivered the same day.

Do residents have access to boiling water?
Hot water is available from the wing kitchen at a regulated temperature, this is for safety reasons for other Residents and staff to avoid any accidents/incidents.


Are Residents just left once they leave induction?
Residents have three welfare checks a day from the staff and have the opportunity to speak to staff and the wing insiders (peer support) on association or at request. Any resident who appears vulnerable will be supported accordingly following prison processes.

All Residents are also assigned a keyworker. Key workers will meet with residents regularly, either every week or every two weeks.

The role of the key worker is to help Residents settle, feel safe and remain calm throughout their time in custody.


What if a Resident wants to move cell because he feels unsafe or is being bullied?
The resident must inform a member of wing staff, this will then be passed to the wing manager who will have a chat with the resident and decide if and where to move him too; assessing the situation and seeing if any further support interventions are needed.


If a Resident follows a certain religion can he continue that within the prison?
Yes, we have a dedicated Chaplaincy team with chaplains from all faiths. They will visit Residents within the first 24 hours and introduce themselves and offer any pastoral support. Residents are permitted to bring in approved holy items such as books of faith or religious statues. Chaplaincy when at full capacity can offer services, readings, book study and general support.




What time is medication?    
This can differ slightly due to regime and staffing but as a general rule medication is issued first thing in the morning from 8am in the central hub. There is also an evening clinic to cover
the pm meds.

How does a Resident know if he needs medication?
Any medical issues will be discussed upon arrival to the prison. If a resident has transferred from another establishment his medical record will follow him to Forest Bank.

If a resident suffers from substance misuse, he will be assessed on his first night on H1 and then will complete a detox programme on our Eden Unit wing.


How does a Resident see a doctor or dentist?
A resident can make a request via the Triage app on the wing kiosk. A member of healthcare may contact them beforehand to assess their needs. Please note due to increased demand there is longer waiting times for the Dentist.

How does a Resident get mental health support?
Forest Bank has a dedicated mental health service which again be accessed via the kiosk app for self-referral. Alternatively, a member of staff can refer a resident if they feel they are in need of support. Residents will be assessed, and future interventions put in place to support them through their journey.



Complaints Process

What if a resident wants to make a complaint?
All residents can easily submit a formal complaint without fear of penalty. Complaint forms are available on the wings and are emptied daily by a designated member of staff who is not a residential Officer (currently the night Oscar 1).

Residents have the right to make a complaint under confidential access (in a sealed envelope). Residents should place their completed complaint form in a sealed envelope addressed to the person they wish to consider the complaint in the complaints box.

All complaints must be answered by staff politely and as positively as possible. All replies should be legible, considering the individual needs of the resident and based on accurate and up to date information. Below is a guide on reply timeframes.


Time Limit

Submission of complaint by resident

Within 3 months of the incident or the circumstances coming to the resident’s attention

Stage 1 response

5 working days

Stage 1 response to complaint against member of staff

10 working days

Stage 1 response to complaint

involving another establishment

10 working days

Stage 1 response with an equality aspect

5 working days

Re-submission by resident of complaint (appeal) stage 2

Within one week of receipt of the stage 1 response                              

Re-submission (appeal)

When answering re-submission appeals, someone senior to the person who answered Stage 1 should respond

5 working days

Stage 2 response

5 working days

Stage 2 response to complaint against member of staff

10 working days

Stage 2 response to complaint

involving another establishment

10 working days


Confidential access complaint to governing governor

5 working days

Confidential access complaint to Deputy Director of Custody

6 weeks

Response to complaint about a reserved subject

6 weeks


What if a Resident wants to report a type of Discrimination including racial slurs, comments about sexuality, disability?

Residents can fill in an DIRF (Discrimination Incident Reporting Form) on the wing and it will be submitted to the Prison Diversity Officer. They will then do a formal investigation and provide a response and outcome. Their decision is approved by several independent parties including Head of Performance, Director and the Independent Monitoring Board to ensure fairness and consistency. They can also use the normal complaints process above.

What if a family member wants to make a complaint?

If a family member isn’t happy with the service, they have received they need to put it in writing and send it to

Complaints PDU
HMP Forest Bank
Agecroft Road
M27 8FB

This will be given to the relevant Head of Function to complete. If their response isn’t satisfactory it will be passed to the Deputy Director to complete.


Offender Management


What is offender management and how do they work with Residents?
Within 5 working days of arriving at HMP Forest Bank residents who are sentenced and serving a sentence of more than 12 months will be allocated by the case administrator a key worker and an offender Manager which is organised by geographical area. 

For high risk sex offenders, medium & low risk NPS cases, the case will also be managed by the offender supervisor. The team will manage the case from when the sentenced resident arrives until they are released/transferred, they will be the first port of call for any queries relating to OMU.

8 months prior to their release date, the case will be then transferred to either a Community Offender Manager or the National Probation Service who will work alongside the dedicated key worker and the Offender supervisor.


What is the role of a Offender Supervisor?

The Offender Management Unit deals with various aspects of a resident’s sentence within the prison. 

This will include:

•           Sentence planning reviews and setting targets

•           Issuing public protection paperwork

•           Category D, HDC assessments

•           Parole reports

•           OASys risk assessments and reviews

•           MAPPA reports and attending MAPPA reviews

•           Completing discharge paperwork

•           Attending parole hearings

OMU Jargon Buster

CRD (Conditional Release Date) - The date a resident will be released when serving a sentence of 2 days or longer.


What is an OASys report?
The OASys report is used to assess why a prisoner offends, how likely it is they will re-offend, and what can be done to stop them offending. It may cover issues such as a history of alcohol abuse, drugs misuse, mental health issues or other health issues.

OASys assessments should be completed within the first 8 weeks of a sentence and a copy can be sent to a resident by their offender manager upon request. This will include their sentence plan. 

Please be away staffing issues may impact the timescales of completing OASys assessments. In these instances, the OASys will be completed as soon as practically possible.


Do OASys reports need to be reviewed?
OASys assessments are only reviewed following significant events or changes in circumstances. This may include completion of programmes, If a resident is involved in a serious incident in custody that could lead to extra changes, or for serious incidents in custody that could lead to the discretion of the offender manager who will consider if the significant event is linked to the residents risk.

What is HDC?
If a resident is serving less than 4 years, Home Detention Curfew (HDC) allows them to finish their sentence at home whilst being electronically monitored. As part of their conditions they must stay within your home during certain hours of the day and night or any other exclusions to your tagging, you must wear a tag to monitor this. This is subject to eligibility. There are certain offences for which you are presumed to be unsuitable for release on HDC.


If a resident does not have a release address can he still apply for HDC?
NACRO BASS (Bail Accommodation and Support Service) can offer accommodation for people released on HDC. They have properties right across the country, in single gender houses.

They Will:

•           Share with no more than three or four people.

•           Have their own bedroom.

Whilst staying with NACRO BASS they will have a dedicated support officer who will help them to meet the terms of their HDC Licence.

To be assessed for NACRO BASS accommodation a resident should speak to your Offender Supervisor.


If a resident does not agree with his sentence calculation/release dates who do they contact?
Resident’s sentence calculations will be checked by Custody team when you arrive at HMP Forest Bank.

Any errors are usually found during this process, and their release date with be amended accordingly. However, if a resident still feels the sentence calculation is incorrect, they should submit a general application along with any supporting evidence to the Custody team, who will then investigate.


How does a Resident find out if they are eligible for ROTL?
The best way to find out if they are eligible for ROTL is to contact the custody team and/or check PSI13/2015. There is a set criteria for ROTL eligibility which includes a ROTL eligibility date and certain sentence requirements. Despite popular belief you do not have to be a cat D to apply for ROTL. Application Forms for ROTL are available from the wing.


Can a resident attend my ROTL board?
The boards are normally held by the Offender Management Unit, who will have reports from the wing officer, Offender Supervisor and other departments/agencies involved.

They will normally decide based on this information however, if they feel the need clarification on anything, they will arrange to meet with the resident. 

If they are refused ROTL they can appeal the result using a COMP1 complaint form which can be found on the wing. This will then be investigated by the Controllers team who will then write to the resident to inform him of the appeal result. If they are still dissatisfied with the decision you should then appeal to the prison and probation ombudsman (PPO).


If a resident is subject to immigration, can they see anyone from the UK Border Agency?

HMP Forest Bank has a Foreign National Coordinator who deals with our prisons Immigration queries and residents who are being held upon immigration matters.


A resident is not from this area, so why have they been sent to HMP Forest Bank? There are several reasons why they may have come to HMP Forest Bank, these include, security reason, and overcrowding within establishments.

The majority of transfers into HMP Forest Bank are allocated through the population management section, and there is often a need to move residents into establishments that are not necessarily within their resettlement area.


How can a resident apply for a transfer?
Complete a “General Application Form” which will then be submitted to the OCA department. The resident should specify which establishment that they would like to transfer to and explain their reasons for this request. Residents will be transferred as per the offender flow depending on time left to serve. If they have less than 16 months left to served, they may stay at FB.


Is a resident permitted to transfer on compassionate grounds for a family member who is seriously ill?
It is possible to have compassionate circumstances considered when applying for a transfer. Each application will be considered on its own merit; however, a compassionate transfer would be considered to be a close family member with a serious medical condition. All supporting evidence of the family members ill health should be sent to OMU/PDU. We will make every attempt to transfer them to an establishment closer to that family member.  However, we are reliant upon the other establishment agreeing to accept the resident and the transport contractor being able to provide a vehicle to facilitate their move.


How will they know the outcome of a transfer?
They will receive notification from OCA explaining whether they have or have not been accepted. If the requested establishment has refused to accept them, they will be notified of the reasons for this. If they are accepted again, they will be notified, however they should be aware that even if they are accepted all moves are subject to spaces and transfers being available.


If a resident is in their last 12 months, when will they transfer in preparation for their local release?
We will make every attempt to transfer residents to the appropriate resettlement establishment, however, this is subject to them accepting the resident, and the transfer cannot be guaranteed.


Where will they transfer to for their local release?
Their local release area will depend on which probation office they are engaging with. They will therefore be allocated to the identified resettlement establishment in accordance with this.


What if a resident is not planning on residing in the same area as their probation office, how can they get transferred? 
Unfortunately, we cannot transfer them to another establishment for local release without a new probation area taking over their case. If they are planning to move areas, then they will need to contact their external probation offices to discuss their options.