Categories of male prisoners

What are male security categories?

There are four different types of male security categories. Each male prisoner will be given a category which will represent the level of security required to keep that prisoner safe, secure his wellbeing, protect other prisoners and the staff at the prison and protect the public.

Security categories for male prisoners

Category A

This will be given to male prisoners whose escape would be extremely dangerous to the general public and also the police and national security. The aim of such a high level of security is to make escape from that prison impossible.

Category B

This will be given to prisoners who do not require the highest level of security, but will still need a high level to make any chance of escape from prison extremely difficult.

Category C

This is for prisoners who cannot be trusted in open prison conditions, but will not necessarily have the intention, the will or the determination to make any real attempt of escape from the prison.

Category D

This is for those male prisoners who pose a low risk in relation to security, and protection of the public, and can be trusted in open prison conditions.

What is considered when deciding the initial security category?

Male prisoners will be categorised accordingly to the likelihood of them seeking escape, including planning an escape all the way to actual attempts of escape, and also the risk the prisoner would pose to others if they were to be successful in an escape.

Initial Category A

Most Category A prisoners will have been reported in as potential Category A following reception on remand and will have been held as provisional Category A leading up to their sentence. Category A prisoners are defined as “those whose escape would be highly dangerous to the public or national security”. Category A prisoners are further separated into standard risk, high risk, and exceptional risk, depending on how likely they are to try to escape.

The offences that may result in consideration for Category A include:

  • Murder
  • Attempted murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Wounding with intent
  • Rape
  • Indecent assault
  • Robbery or conspiracy to rob (with firearms)
  • Firearms offences
  • Importing or supplying Class A controlled drug
  • Possessing or supplying explosives
  • Offences connected with terrorism
  • Offences under the Official Secrets Act

Initial Category B

It is a general presumption that if any of the following apply to a male prisoner, they will be initially categorised a Category B security level:

  • Serving a current prison sentence of 10 years or more.
  • Serving an indeterminate sentence of at least five years or more.
  • Any other indeterminate sentence.
  • During a previous prison sentence, the male prison was considered a Category A security level.
  • They have committed current or previous terrorist offences.
  • While the prisoner was on remand, he was considered a potential or provisional Category A prisoner.
  • He has served a previous sentence of 10 years or more.
  • The prisoner has previously escaped from a closed prison, police or escort.
  • The prison is currently serving a sentence for an offence involving violence or a threat to life, or threat of arson, firearms offences, robbery, drugs and sexual offences.

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For more information on:

  • Initial Category C
  • Initial Category D
  • Category reviews
  • Appealing a category decision