There are over 100 prisons across the UK, serving a wide range of purposes. It is particularly useful to check an establishment purpose before you apply for a role, to ensure that the prison is in a category that you would like to work in.
There are four different security categories, as well as Female/YOI and reform prisons:
Category A – Category A prisoners are those that would pose the most threat to the public, the police or national security should they escape. Security conditions in category A prisons are designed to make escape impossible for these prisoners.
Category B – Category B prisoners do not need to be held in the highest security conditions but, for category B prisoners, the potential for escape should be made very difficult.
Category C – Category C prisoners cannot be trusted in open conditions but are considered to be prisoners who are unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.
Category D – Category D prisoners can be trusted in open conditions.
Reform Prisons - A reform prison operates with greater freedom than standard prison categories currently benefit from.
Autonomous governors will be able to exercise greater control over all areas of reform in their establishment, rather thanhaving to keep them in line with national policies that may not integrate well with a particular prison.
The six reform prisons are HMP Wandsworth in London, HMP Holme House in County Durham, HMP Kirklevington Grange in North Yorkshire, HMP Coldingley and HMP High Down in Surrey, and HMP Ranby in Nottinghamshire and currently covers about 5,000 of the 85,000 prison population.
Un-sentenced prisoners, or prisoners on remand awaiting trial, are generally housed in category B accommodation unless they have been provisionally classified as category A.
Unless they have been deemed category A, then female prisoners and young offenders are not categorised. They are only classified as suitable for open conditions or suitable for closed conditions.