The Prisons Handbook 2019/2020

At 1,600 pages our most comprehensive edition ever!

Sorry we have SOLD OUT of The Prisons Handbook 2019/2020 – but you can find all of its fully updated contents by joining over 10,000 subscribers to The Prison Oracle – the definitive UK prisons web site.

Subscriptions start from just 49p a week, you can cancel any time, and full access to the entire site is less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

Prison Oracle membership gives you access to over 44,000 pages of information that is updated daily – learn more.

The 2021 edition of The Prisons Handbook will be published in November 2020. The 2020 edition (the 21st annual edition) at 1,600 pages, was our largest and most comprehensive edition ever – now you can access its contents online via The Prison Oracle

“An incredible reference book on Prisons; I keep a copy in my top drawer and I refer to it frequently” Director General, HM Prison Service.

Next Edition

The Prisons Handbook 2021

Published November 2020 – 22nd Annual Edition

Editor: Mark Leech
Last Published: 19th November 2019
Next Edition 15th November 2020

2020 edition: ISBN-13: 978-0-9572098-9-3
No. of pages: 1,600

The definitive annual guide to the penal system of England and Wales. Since 1995 it has become ‘the bible’ for prisoners, their families, Prison Officers, Prison Governors, Civil Servants, solicitors, barristers, voluntary organisations and indeed for anyone with a personal, professional or academic interest in our prisons.

At 1,600 pages the 2019 edition it’s our BIGGEST and most comprehensive edition ever and, for the first time, it’s now fully updateable online too!

“An incredible reference book on Prisons; I keep a copy in my top drawer and I refer to it frequently” Director General, HM Prison Service.

“The Prisons Handbook is a great point of reference for anyone who wants to learn about the prison system; Governors, staff, prisoners, families and civil servants alike have all come to view it as a thoroughly reliable source of information.”

Rt.Hon David Gauke,

MP. Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Buying options

There are THREE kinds of purchase – depending on who you are buying for:

1. Prison Inmate / Charity

We offer significant discounts on copies bought for either an inmate or a charity. 
Read our FAQ on Buying for an Inmate.

£67.50 + p&p


Again we offer discounts to HMPPS staff, and so if you are purchasing for a member of HMPPS (or on behalf of a prison library) this is the option to choose below to get the right discount.

£101.24 + p&p

3. Public Purchase

Choose this option if you are purchasing for a member of the public or a company

£134.99 + p&p

Once you click on Buy buttons above, you will then be taken to Romancart, our shopping cart agent, where details of your purchase will be displayed. Once you are satisfied these are correct click ‘Checkout’ and you will be taken to the secure payment screen.

Your online security is very important to us which is why we use Romancart as our online shopping agent, and all transactions are securely processed through SagePay – the UK’s leading and largest Secure Payment Service Provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we know what we’re doing?

Yes; we’ve been doing this for over 20 years and we are a Ministry of Justice Approved Book RetailerWhat Does Approved Book Retailer (ABR) Mean?
An ABR is a publisher/book retailer who has been approved by the Ministry of Justice as satisfying their criteria in terms of security and chain of custody - ensuring that from printer, through publisher/retailer, to prison there is no opportunity for their books to be tampered with - we guarantee that when the book arrives at the prison it has come directly from our securely held stock.
This means that our books are issued much faster as they are not subject to all the normal security measures that apply to books sent in by family and friends direct.

Will the prison accept the book?

Yes – either we can send the book in – or if you prefer you can send the book in yourself ….but if you choose to send the book yourself this means:

  1. You pay two lots of postage – one for us to send you the book, and then for you to send the book to the prison, and
  2. There will be a delay in the book being issued while it is subject to security checks.
International Sales

The postage and packing prices are set by default to the mainland United Kingdom, however if you want the book(s) you have purchased to be sent outside of the UK, please study our international postage rates below and select the right rate during the check out process.

There are three rates, Europe, World Zone 1 (WZ1) and World Zone 2 (WZ2). Each of these postage methods are fully tracked and signed for on delivery, and when you select the appropriate Shipping rate during the check out process the correct postage and packing rates is automatically inserted.

Please note the delivery time scale for international – whatever the zone – is five to seven days.

Pricing Zones

Have another question?

Call us at 0845 474 0013 
Email us


What’s in the 2019/2020 Edition?

View the Contents here