Prison Segregation Factsheet

Episode 5
Segregation

Maxi and Al now face the anger of the other G Wing inmates after being charged with Virginia O’Kane’s murder. They decide to ask to be segregated for their own protection under Rule 45 of the Prison Rules. This enables prisoners who feel vulnerable to opt out of contact with other prisoners. In some prisons it means going to the segregation unit, and even when this is not the case prisoners segregated in this way often have limited access to work, education and association (opportunities to mix with other prisoners, watch TV, use the showers, play pool etc.).

Prisoners may be driven to ask for protection because of the offences they have committed – those who have abused children are often given a hard time by others for example – or because of something that has happened in the prison. Debts resulting from drug use or being a suspected informer might cause prisoners to take this drastic step. Prison staff are reluctant to segregate prisoners in this way because it can be difficult to get them back on ‘normal location’ afterwards. Suspicion tends to linger about why the prisoner chose that option, and so it is better to help prisoners stay in the main population if possible. G Wing does not seem a very welcoming place for Maxi and Al at the moment though. Far from moving to ‘Enhanced’ as they had hoped, their outlook over the next few weeks or months seems isolated and spartan.

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