Immediately upon arrival, prisoners:

  • have their identity confirmed and are measured and photographed
  • hand over any personal property and clothing to be stored while they are in custody
  • undergo a strip-search by prison officers
  • are given prison-issue clothing
  • shower
  • nominate people for their visit and telephone call lists
  • are entitled to one telephone call to a friend, family member or legal representative

In Victoria, the main reception point for male adult prisoners is the Melbourne Assessment Prison. For female adult prisoners, it is the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre.


Following reception, prisoners undergo an initial risk assessment to identify any special needs and are referred to the appropriate prison services (for example, disability services or interpreter services).

The assessment process includes a health examination conducted by medical staff. When a prisoner fits the criteria, a mental health assessment is carried out by psychiatric staff.

For more about health services in the prison system, see Health care.

Following assessment, prisoners are placed in prison units.


All prisoners receive orientation information to help them adjust to the prison environment.

Orientation sessions for newly arrived prisoners cover topics such as:

  • prisoners’ rights
  • sentence management system
  • prison rules, routines and procedures
  • Individual Management Plan process
  • expectations of behaviour
  • disciplinary processes
  • access to visits, letters, telephone calls, money and property
  • access to health services
  • infection control
  • grievance processes and requests and complaints procedures
  • voting entitlements/prisoner marriage
  • work, vocational training, education and program opportunities
  • staying safe
  • prison profile