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Our prison law experts are at the forefront of developments in this area of law and regularly challenge the Ministry of Justice and other authorities.
Our specialist prison law solicitors are here to provide thorough and confidential legal advice.

Our prison law solicitors are more than happy to answer your queries and assist you with your matter should you choose to instruct us.

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What is recategorisation?

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. Categorisation of prisoners is usually reviewed annually, where prisoners can be recategorised and moved to jails with a lower categorisation.

The main prison categories in England and Wales are:

Category A – high risk to the public, the police or national security

Category B – lower risk, but measures are needed to prevent escape

Category C – Unsuitable for open prisons but unlikely to escape

Category D – Suitable for open prisons.

How Can We Help?

Category A prisoners are not reviewed until two years into their sentence, and then reviewed annually thereafter. As mentioned, advice and assistance with Category A reviews are within the scope of legal aid – but Category B and C prisoners are reviewed every six months and will be reviewed annually in the case of sentences over four years.

Unfortunately, assistance with these recategorisation reviews do not fall within the scope of legal aid. However, we at Youngs Law offer competitive private rates to assist with your recategorisation at this stage and can provide advice and assistance to this effect. We can advise prisoners on representations to show a reduction in risk when security category is reviewed. In cases where a prisoner is unhappy about their categorisation or decision in their review, an appeal can be made to the Prison Service, which we can assist with also.

Youngs Law 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.

The purpose of categorisation according to PSI 40/2011 is to assess the risks posed by a prisoner in terms of:

  • likelihood of escape or abscond;
  • the risk of harm to the public in the event of an escape or abscond;
  • any control issues that impact on the security and good order of the prison and the safety of those within it.

The prison should then assign to the prisoner the lowest security category consistent with managing those risks (s1.1 psi 40/2011).

Why Choose Our Prison Lawyers?

In the Prison Law Department at Youngs Law, we have a wealth of extensively experienced Solicitors and Legal Executives who would be pleased to provide advice, assistance and advocacy for your category reviews. Our Solicitors and Legal Executives regularly go in front of the review board and advocate for client’s progressive move or open conditions, and obtain successful results.

Our prison law team is highly successful at representing all clients serving all types of sentences, irrespective of the offence committed.

Meet the team

For further information and confidential advice from our team of specialist solicitors, please contact a member of our team or call us on

033 33 582 580

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