What prisons in UK are Category A

What prisons in UK are Category A

What Prisons in the UK are Category A? A Comprehensive Guide


When it comes to the prison system in the United Kingdom, the classification of prisons is a topic that often piques public interest. One of the most talked-about categories is “Category A” prisons. These are high-security facilities designed to house the most dangerous and high-risk offenders. But what exactly are Category A prisons, and which facilities in the UK fall under this classification? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the specifics.

What is a Category A Prison?

In the UK, prisons are categorised based on the level of security they provide and the type of inmates they house. Category A prisons are the highest level of security, designed to hold prisoners whose escape would pose the most significant threat to the public, the police, or national security. Inmates in these facilities are often serving long sentences for serious crimes such as murder, terrorism, or organised crime.

Characteristics of Category A Prisons

  • High-Security Measures: These prisons are equipped with state-of-the-art security systems, including CCTV cameras, reinforced walls, and multiple layers of fencing.

  • Limited Contact: Inmates have limited contact with the outside world and are closely monitored.

  • Specialised Staff: The staff are specially trained to manage high-risk offenders.

What prisons in UK are Category A

What prisons in UK are Category A?

List of Category A Prisons in the UK

  1. Belmarsh (London): Known for housing high-profile inmates, including terrorists and murderers.

  2. Frankland (County Durham): Home to some of the UK’s most notorious criminals, this prison has a high-security “jail within a jail” for the most dangerous inmates.

  3. Full Sutton (Yorkshire): This facility is known for its stringent security measures and has housed several high-profile criminals.

  4. Long Lartin (Worcestershire): Specialises in long-term sentences and has a reputation for maintaining high security.

  5. Manchester (Strangeways): One of the oldest high-security prisons, it has been revamped to meet modern security standards.

  6. Wakefield (West Yorkshire): Often referred to as the “Monster Mansion,” this prison houses some of the most dangerous criminals in the country.

  7. Whitemoor (Cambridgeshire): This prison has a special unit for prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences.

How Are Inmates Classified as Category A?

The classification is typically determined by a combination of factors, including the severity of the crime, the risk of escape, and the threat posed to the public. A thorough assessment is conducted by the Ministry of Justice to decide on the appropriate category for each prisoner.


Understanding the UK’s Category A prisons is crucial for grasping the complexities of the country’s criminal justice system. These facilities play a vital role in maintaining public safety by securely housing the most dangerous and high-risk offenders. With stringent security measures and specialised staff, Category A prisons are designed to be nearly impregnable fortresses that serve to protect society from those who pose the greatest threats.

What prisons in UK are Category A