Categorisation of prisoners begins after an initial assessment – and is usually reviewed annually, with prisoners often being recategorised and moved to jails with a lower categorization, or to an open prison which may be nearer family and friends.
Security categories for prisoners are decided according to the risk of whether a prisoner might escape – or whether it is likely they may harm other prisoners or prison staff.
Prison transfers can occur at any time and in England and Wales the main prison categories are:
Prisoners awaiting sentencing will be assessed and held in an appropriate prison.
Prisoners who have not yet been convicted but have not been granted bail will not be held alongside convicted prisoners in jail – but may be held in a Category B prison, depending on the offence.
Female prisoners or young offenders are only classed as suitable for open or closed prison, unless they are high risk and then they are likely to be categorized as a Category A prisoner. Some high risk young offenders may be kept in closed conditions or have restricted status to prevent them escaping.
Category A prisoners are not reviewed until two years into their sentence – but Category B and C prisoner with a sentence between 12 months and four years are reviewed every six months and will be reviewed annually in the case of sentences over four years.
Prison staff check a prisoner’s category – and the category will be checked more frequently for prisoners who are Category A, B, or C.
In many cases, prisoners can move to a lower category prison, but in some cases there may be knock back when a prisoner may have to remain in closed conditions until the next Parole Board hearing.
In cases where a prisoner is unhappy about their categorisation, an appeal can be made to the Prison Service.
Prisoners with two years of a sentence left can be moved to an open prison – but this may depend on how manageable a prisoner’s risk of escape is.
Duncan Lewis prison law solicitors can advise prisoners on representations to show a reduction in risk when security category is reviewed – and how best to comply with the requirements of the review board, including presenting achievements on any sentence plan at a review board hearing, or appealing a Parole Board decision in cases involving knock back, where a request to move to open conditions has been refused.
Duncan Lewis can also advise on how to appeal against assessments and review decisions – including seeking Judicial Review.
Call Duncan Lewis as soon as possible for legal advice on category reviews and appeals, or any other prison law matter.
There are Duncan Lewis offices nationwide – and our prison law solicitors regularly visit police stations, prisons and courts to advise on criminal law and prison law.
For expert legal advice on category reviews, knock back and appeals, call Duncan Lewis prison law solicitors on 020 7923 4020.
For urgent prison law advice or 24/7 help at a police station, call the Duncan Lewis Emergency Hotline on 020 7275 2036.
Under reforms to Legal Aid, Duncan Lewis is no longer able to offer public funding for legal advice on category reviews, Parole Board hearings and knock back appeals.
However, Duncan Lewis prison law solicitors are usually able to offer competitively priced fixed fees to our clients, with notice of legal costs in advance whenever possible.
To speak to one of our prison law experts about category reviews, knock back and appeals, call Duncan Lewis prison law solicitors now on 020 7923 4020.