What to do when a family member goes to prison

What to do when a family member goes to prison

In NSW, there are numerous ways a person can be ordered to go to prison. Some of them are:

  • 1.   They are sentenced by a court to a term of imprisonment, and are taken away to jail upon the sentence being handed down;
  • 2.   They are arrested, charged and refused bail by the Police and the Courts, and then taken to prison (usually a remand prison);
  • 3.   They breach their parole, a warrant is issued for their arrest, and upon arrest they are taken straight to jail;
  • 4.   They lodge an appeal against their sentence of imprisonment, the appeal is refused and they are ordered to serve the term (or  lesser or additional) of imprisonment.

Their families are often lost about what to do when this happens, particularly if this is the first time they are locked up.

Call a Sydney Criminal Defence Lawyer

An experienced criminal defence lawyer will be able to guide you through your options (if any) with relative ease. They will advise you on your rights to appeal, whether the sentence handed down was appropriate and whether an appeal is even worth it. Usually a criminal defence lawyer will give you a brief advice free of charge.

If it is the case that you wish for a lawyer to visit your loved one in jail, and prepare an appeal, you should arrange to see a lawyer as soon as possible after the sentence.

For more information on appeals, click here.

Which jail will they go to?

If the offender is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and was previously on bail, they will generally be held at the courthouse until a truck arrives to transport them to a jail or holding cell. Over the next couple of days they will be transferred to a jail that is allocated to them. Depending on the seriousness of the charge, and the term of the sentence, this could be one of a number of jails in Sydney, or in country NSW.

If the offender is arrested by police, charged and refused bail, they will be taken to a remand prison. In Sydney, the remand prisons they will be taken to include:

  • Silverwater MRRC,
  • Parklea Correctional Centre,
  • Long Bay Correctional Centre,
  • Parramatta Correctional Centre,
  • Silverwater Women’s Prison.


Can Bail be applied for after the sentence of imprisonment?

Yes. A bail application can be made to the Local, District or Supreme Court at any time after the sentence is handed down, and the appeal is pending. However, bail applications after a sentence has been handed down can be more difficult, particularly if it is the District Court or Supreme Court of NSW that sentenced the offender.

If the offender was sentenced in the Local Court, it is easier to apply for bail following a sentence of imprisonment. In fact, if there is enough time in the day to make the application, an application for bail can be heard on the same day as the sentence of imprisonment is handed down.

For more information on bail, and to see case studies where our clients have been granted bail, click here.

How to arrange visits to the jail

Once it is found out where the offender is being held, you can usually call the jail and make a booking to see him/her within a relatively short period of time. Each jail is different, some busier and stricter than others!

You can find information on visiting a correctional centre by clicking here.


If you or a loved one need urgent advice from experienced Criminal Defence Lawyers on the prospects of an appeal against a sentence of imprisonment, we are more than happy to speak to you. Call LY Lawyers on 1300 595 299 for a free consultation.