A prisoner, also known as an inmate or detainee, is a person who is deprived of liberty against his or her will. This can be by confinement, captivity, or by forcible restraint. The term applies particularly to those on trial or serving a prison sentence in a prison.
"Prisoner" is a legal term for a person who is imprisoned.
In section 1 of the Prison Security Act 1992, the word "prisoner" means any person for the time being in a prison as a result of any requirement imposed by a court or otherwise that he be detained in legal custody.
"Prisoner" was a legal term for a person prosecuted for felony. It was not applicable to a person prosecuted for misdemeanour. The abolition of the distinction between felony and misdemeanour by section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 has rendered this distinction obsolete.
Glanville Williams described as "invidious" the practice of using the term "prisoner" in reference to a person who had not been convicted.
The earliest evidence of the existence of the prisoner dates back to 8,000 BC from prehistoric graves in Lower Egypt. This evidence suggests that people from Libya enslaved a San-like tribe.