the New Prisoner
Welcome Booklet
Very little is provided to new prisoners in the UK prison system that is either a) consistent, or b) strategically designed to address and support their mental and emotional state in a way that reduces violence, depression and non-compliance. Therefore, a goal was set to create a powerful tool that would be cheap to produce, easy to implement and have a high take-up and engagement rate by new prisoners. Something they would keep and read, not be inclined to lose and also keep as a reference. It would seek to have an unthreatening name, not be overwhelming and speak to them about where they are at. In addition, thought must be given to the layout and cadence in order to support them going through it in an engaged fashion. Ultimately, it should aim to lay a strong foundation for mitigating some of the traumatic effects of first time incarceration, whilst supporting key fundamental aspects of the prison system.
In response to the above need, The New Prisoner Welcome Booklet was designed.
This booklet is now being used in various prisons across the UK with very beneficial results. In addition, the source file below can be customized and adapted for prisons all over the world.
A PDF copy of the booklet (UK version) can be freely downloaded here: LINK TO DOWNLOAD PDF
The source file for the booklet (InDesign) can be freely downloaded here: LINK TO DOWNLOAD INDD
Please note: The author places no copyright restrictions on any part of the work and all images are licensed. The only request is that it be used with the intent to help, not for any form of self-promotion.
The initial primary goals of introducing the booklet would be to produce statistically significant and positive results on the following measurables after a 3 month:
Increase the number of new prisoners achieving ‘enhanced’ status by more than 5%
Decrease the number of new prisoners receiving negative ‘IEP’ by more than 5%
Decrease the number of new prisoners starting anti-depressant medication by 5%
Decrease the number of violent incidents on staff and/or other prisoners by 5%
In addition, and on a longer-term basis, the rate of reoffending / time between offences should also be measured as it has large implications for society as well as the cost benefit analysis.
The average cost per prisoner to the UK taxpayer is currently estimated at £40,000 a year. Therefore, if this booklet helps just one prisoner in a way that keeps them from coming back to prison, it pays for 200,000 booklets. This increases greatly if we take into account the initial police and court costs. There would also be annual cost savings of £230 for each prisoner who is able to cope better without anti-depressant medication. In addition, reduction on violence to staff (or other prisoners) would have highly beneficial effects in terms of both morale, order and Government Inspectorate reports.
The following is a breakdown of the New Prisoner Welcome Booklet in more detail, together with the aims and objectives of each section:
The booklet consists of 9 parts:
Part 1 – Cover
Part 2 – Introduction
Part 3 – List of Famous People who went to Prison (and what happened next)
Part 4 – Inspiring Story
Part 5 – Tips on Life Inside
Part 6 – Resources After Release
Part 7 – Useful Information and Reference
Part 8 – Inspirational Quotes
Part 9 – Personal Notes Section
Part 1: Cover
Aims & Objectives: This is the first impression and wants to be friendly and inviting. The world ‘welcome’ should be incorporated and prominent. Suggestions are a bright blue background (open sky) with a signpost split between front and back offering various resources they will likely be searching for or grateful to find (such as help, support, guidance etc.)
Part 2: Introduction:
Aims & Objectives: This would aim to build rapport quickly by identifying with them where they are at. It would include compelling reasons as to why they should read the booklet as well as laying out the pre-frames and promises and expectations. It should also invite them to read and re-read often. The introduction should be limited to a maximum one page, supported by a graphic and signed ‘an Insider’, which also sets up the frame for them to relate to the wing insiders as sources of advice.
Part 3: Famous People Who Went to Jail and What Happened Next:
Aims & Objectives: One of the biggest outcomes of this section is hope. Many first-time prisoners will think that their future is now a lot bleaker. Sharing with them examples of famous people who have been where they are, or worse, and went on to live or create successful lives, gives a powerful reference for negating this belief. I’d also put this section before the story because:
1. It’s easier and shorter to read.
2. Gets them into the habit of reading the booklet and getting something out of it, leading to a higher uptake of people moving onto the story, which is where some of the ‘heavier artillery’ is aimed at supporting their thinking.
It would contain a small piece on each famous person with a picture, why they were sentenced, for how long and what happened to their lives afterwards. The section would finish with a soft invitation for them to use the opportunity to also change their lives for the better.
Part 4: The Story
Aims & Objectives: To produce a fictional story that helps new prisoners’ better deal with the emotional adjustment to prison. To enroll and engage readers via a third-party storytelling (not imposition), into discovering empowering awareness’s that can help them make better decisions on how to think and cope mentally inside. To set up a better psychological foundation on which to adapt to prison life.
Part 5: Helpful Tips For Life On The Inside
Aims & Objectives: To offer some useful and practical tips they would not normally know and that can make life inside easier. To include messages from other prisoners so as to create a theme of social proof, local authority and solidarity. This also demonstrates a high level of usefulness to the booklet, reinforcing the value and lowering the temptation to either discount it or throw it away.
Part 6: Resources After Release
Aims & Objectives: To list a series of employers who have specific policies of employing ex-offenders so as to prevent and pre-empt potential thoughts of them thinking they are unemployable, which could add to the psychological pain and potential path of depression.
Part 7: Useful Info / Contacts / Reference:
Aims & Objectives: To provide a place where they can find relevant and useful information pertinent, though generic, to the nature of their situation.
Part 8: Inspirational Quotes:
Aims & Objectives: To offer some form of positive resources in the form of specifically chosen quotes, designed to improve their state of mind and direction of thinking.
Part 9: Personal Notes Section
Aims & Objectives: To provide space for prisoners to make their own notes, jot down ideas and offer a further useful and practical aspect to the booklet.
Format & Logistics
 • Suggested size: For UK – A4 folded to A5. For US – Letter folded to booklet size.
 • Suggested or approximate number of pages – 28
 • Finish: full colour
 • Approximate cost per unit in volume: 15 pence.
This initiative is also supported by The ‘Chrysalis Programme’. This is a separate and established initiative set up by David Apparicio, Justice of the Peace (Magistrate), and who’s values and ideas overlap with that of the booklets creator. A collaboration between the two has now been established. (For further details see )
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

The New Prisoner Welcome Booklet was created by Peter Sage as outlined in his unique and ground-breaking book ‘The Inside Track’
available on Amazon
© Copyright Peter Sage 2019
All Rights Reserved