What do the security categories actually mean?
Each Prisoner is given a category that represents the level of security required in relation to the accommodation and welfare of that prisoner. Both Male and Female prisoners are categorised in differently.
The female prisoners’ security categories are:
Category A – a prisoner, who has previously escaped custody, and those who would be highly dangerous to the public, the police and national security require high security conditions to be put in place in order to make escape impossible.
Restricted status – Any Female, young person or young adult prisoner whose escape would pose a significant risk to the general public and are required to be held in a designated secured accommodation. This category would assign to those on remand as well as convicted prisoners.
Closed conditions – This category will be relevant to those prisoners who do not necessarily pose such a risk to the public that they require the very highest of security measures, but do present too high a risk for open prison condition, will then require closed conditions.
Open Conditions – Prisoners that present a low risk to the public and national security and those who can be reasonably trusted in open conditions would be relevant here.
What determines the security category?
The reason behind categorisation of prisoners is to assess the risks that prisoners poses in relation to the their likelihood of escaping or absconding, the risk of harm to the general public if they did escape or abscond from custody and whether there are any factors that would impact on the security within the prison and the safety of other prisoners.
The prisoner will then be assigned to the lowest security category that will allow the prison service to manage those risks.
Unless a prisoner is serving a life sentence or an indeterminate sentence for Public Protection (IPP), at the initial stage of categorisation, it will be presumed that all prisoners must be considered for open conditions unless one or more of the following apply:
- The prisoner is serving a current sentence of at least 3 years or more Whilst the prisoner was on remand, they were provisionally treated as a Category A prisoner. They have previously, or are currently charged with a terrorist or related terrorist offence. The prisoner has previously escaped from closed prison, police custody or a police escort. There is a significant and substantial history of serious offending. The prisoner has serious criminal associations. There are further criminal charges outstanding excluding any charges of a minor nature. The Prisoner has served a previous sentence of 7 years or more and was released within the last 5 years. The prisoner has been diagnosed with, or is suspected of suffering from serious mental health problems. There is reasonable grounds to be believe that the prisoner is at risk of absconding. The prisoner has previously failed to surrender to custody. Open conditions are not appropriate because of issues with victims and public confidence. The prisoner is currently subject to MAPPA level 2 or 3 management. MAPPA is the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements for supervising offenders in the community.
For more information on:
- The categorisation review
- Appealing categorisation