The Prisons Handbook 2021

At around 1,600 pages its the definitive annual guide to the prison system of England and Wales – and has been for 25 years.

The Prisons Handbook 2021 was published on 15th November 2020, with a foreword by an exceptional leader, who was Chief Executive of HM Prison and Probation Service from 2010 until his retirement in 2019:

Michael Spurr





The Prisons Handbook 2021 is dedicated to an extraordinary human being; the late, great, and gone far too soon giant of Forensic Psychology:

Dr Ruth Mann.



At 1,600 pages it is the definitive annual reference book on the prison system of England and Wales and has been for 25 years.


“The Prisons Handbook has for many years been an excellent example of clear effective communication providing a comprehensive guide to prisons for prisoners, their families and for practitioners across the Criminal Justice System. Alongside the equally excellent Prison Oracle website it provides a window into the Prison system which is immensely valuable – and as important today as it has ever been!” Michael Spurr, from his Foreword to The Prisons Handbook 2021.


“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.


“Strongly recommended” Chief Executive HM Prison & Probation Service 2020.








“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 –

  • A serving inmate or registered charity;
  • Prison establishment library or member of staff; or
  • A member of the public.


£66.99 plus p&p

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£110.99 plus p&p

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£139.99 plus p&p

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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 has prejudicial effects in terms of costs and delay:

  1. Firstly by sending in the book yourself you lose the full inmate discount – which is 50% or more with other offers
  2. Secondly, you then 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
  3. Finally, 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.

If you are unsure which World Zone you are located in – check here >>

Have another question?

Call us at 0845 474 0013 
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What’s in the 2021 Edition?

View the Contents here