Transport of prisoners is largely standard-rated (Business Brief 29/1993 (21 September 1993)), unless the transport is in a vehicle designed or adapted to carry ten or more passengers, in which case the supply is zero-rated (VATA 1994, Sch. 8, Grp. 8, item 4).
The only exception to this is where Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) or other similar official bodies are legally required to carry out such duties. In such circumstances, where a statutory obligation prevents private sector competitors from undertaking the services, the activity is a non-business activity outside the scope of VAT.