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There are broadly five categories of prisons:

  1. Local prisons for un-convicted and short-term prisoners.
  2. Dispersal prisons for high security prisoners.
  3. Training prisons for long-term prisoners who do not need the highest security.
  4. Category C prisons, which are closed but have less internal security.
  5. Open prisons for prisoners not believed to be a risk to the public or in danger of escaping.

Following the initial assessment the category status is then reviewed regularly, usually at the annual Sentence Planning Board and every 6 months for prisoners within the last 24 months of their sentence . Any adverse change in category status should be reported to us immediately. In addition if a progressive move, to lower category status, is not recommended, it may be possible to challenge the decision. Yet again it is important that we are informed as soon as possible.

Category A prisoners are subject to a different regime and should ensure that they have legal assistance at their annual Cat A reviews.