How can I find out about my sentence and release date?

The court decides how long your sentence will be, but the prison will work out the details. If you are have been sentenced to a determinate (fixed term) sentence, the prison should work out your release date within 5 working days of your arrival.


If you are have been sentenced to a determinate (fixed term) sentence, you should be told what date your sentence finishes within 5 days of the prison working it out. You should receive a ‘release date notification slip’ with this information on.


If the prison is waiting for information on how long your sentence will be, you may be told the information is provisional. This means it might change. You will get a new notification when the prison has all the information and has worked it out again.


How is my sentence worked out?

A member of staff at the prison will work out your sentence


Your sentence is worked out by looking at

  • the date you were sentenced
  •  how long your sentence is
  • the type of sentence you were given
  •  the date you committed the offence
  • the prison service will take into account any time you spent in prison on remand for the offence if it was committed before 4 April 2005
  • if your offence was after 4 April 2005 the court may tell the prison not to count the time you spent on remand.

Speak to a member of prison staff if you need help to understand your prison sentence.


If you think your sentence has not been worked out correctly, speak to a member of staff or put in an application to the sentence calculation clerk. You should say why you think it is wrong as ask them to work it out again. If you have further difficulty you should speak to your solicitor.


What happens if I am transferred?

If you are transferred to another prison, a member of staff there should check that your sentence has been worked out properly. You should receive a new notification within 5 working days of your arrival.


Can I have extra days added to my sentence?

If you break prison rules you may have to spend extra days in prison. This is not part of your sentence. There is more information in PSI 05/2018 Prisoner Discipline Procedures and in our information sheet about Prison Rules and Adjudications.

Further information


Useful PSIs and PSOs (these should be available in the library):

PSI 03/2015 Sentence Calculation – Determinate Sentenced Prisoners


Information sheets

Prison Reform Trust information sheet on ‘Extended Sentences


The Prison Rules 1999

For a print-ready version of this information, click here.