500 tips for convicts

A short guide for people sent to a UK prison for the first time


5. Chapter4. Health

You owe it to yourself to remain as healthy as you can. The food in most prisons provides a fairly well balanced diet. If you have particular dietary requirements, these can usually be accommodated. There is nearly always a vegetarian or vegan alternative to the main menu.

Special diets for religious reasons are nearly always available. Kosher food is readily available as is Halal food. If you have religious objections to the mainstream prison food, and your dietary needs are not met, seek an interview with the Governor and explain the situation. He or she will have discretion to provide your special food and is likely to be sympathetic. The Governor will not give in to frivolous demands, however.

If you are on a diet for medical reasons such as diabetes, etc., make sure that the Medical Officer and the kitchens are aware of this.

Report any symptoms you may have to the Medical Officer straight away. Infections spread quickly in that sort of environment and must be treated immediately.

In addition to the exercise yard there will nearly always be a gymnasium or multi-gym. If you are over a certain age, you may have to get permission from the medical officer before you will be able to use the gymnasium facilities.  

Some prisons actively support team sports such as football teams, five-a-side or cricket. These are often run voluntarily by  a prison officer who is interested in a particular sport.

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