What crimes are a category C Prisoner?

What crimes are a category C Prisoner

What crimes are a category C Prisoner? In the United Kingdom, the prison system is structured into various categories, ranging from Category A (the highest security) to Category D (the lowest). This classification is pivotal in ensuring that inmates are housed in an environment commensurate with their security needs and the risk they pose.

Differences Between Prison Categories

  • Category A: Maximum security prisons for those who pose a significant risk to the public, police, or national security.
  • Category B: Prisons for those who do not require maximum security but still pose a considerable escape risk.
  • Category C: Facilities for inmates who cannot be trusted in open conditions but who pose a lower risk than those in Categories A and B.
  • Category D: Open prisons for prisoners who pose a low risk and can be trusted with minimal supervision.

Who is a Category C Prisoner?

Category C prisoners in the UK are individuals who are not considered to pose a high risk of escape and are therefore held in less secure conditions than those in Categories A and B. These prisoners typically include:

  1. Non-Violent Offenders: Individuals convicted of crimes that did not involve significant violence.
  2. White-Collar Criminals: Those found guilty of fraud, embezzlement, and other financial crimes.
  3. First-Time Offenders: Prisoners serving their first custodial sentence, particularly for less serious offences.
  4. Low-Level Drug Offenders: Individuals involved in minor drug-related offences.
  5. Burglars and Thieves: Those convicted of burglary or theft, but without a history of violence.
  6. Offenders Nearing the End of Their Sentence: Prisoners who have been downgraded from higher categories as they approach release.

List of Category C Prisons in the UK

Some notable Category C prisons in the UK include:

  • HMP Dartmoor
  • HMP Drake Hall
  • HMP Leyhill
  • HMP Lindholme
  • HMP Littlehey
  • HMP Moorland
  • HMP North Sea Camp

Progressing from a Category C Prison to a Category D Prison

The progression from a Category C to a Category D prison involves several key steps:

  1. Consistent Good Behaviour: Demonstrating a sustained period of good behaviour is crucial.
  2. Risk Assessment: Showing a reduced risk to the public and the likelihood of reoffending.
  3. Engagement in Rehabilitation Programmes: Participation in courses and activities designed to address offending behaviour.
  4. Positive Reports from Prison Staff: Recommendations from officers and prison staff based on observed behaviour and attitude.
  5. Category Review Process: Regular reviews by a panel to assess suitability for re-categorisation to a lower security prison.


Understanding the categorisation of Category C prisoners provides insight into the UK’s approach to managing different levels of risk within the prison system. Category C prisoners, typically non-violent offenders or those posing a lower escape risk, are housed in less secure conditions than their Category A or B counterparts. Progressing to a Category D prison, an open facility, requires consistent good behaviour, reduced risk, and active engagement in rehabilitation programmes. This structured approach ensures that prisoners are managed in an environment appropriate to their risk level, facilitating rehabilitation and eventual reintegration into society.