Which prisons are Category A?

Which prisons are Category A?

Which Prisons are Category A? Your Comprehensive UK Guide


The United Kingdom’s prison system is a complex structure, categorised into different levels based on the security measures required and the types of offenders housed. One category that often captures public interest is “Category A.” So, which prisons in the UK fall under this high-security classification? In this detailed guide, we’ll explore this subject, focusing on the UK’s criminal justice system.

What is a Category A Prison?

Before diving into the list of prisons, it’s essential to understand what Category A prisons are. These are high-security facilities designed to house the most dangerous and high-risk offenders. Inmates in Category A prisons are often serving long sentences for severe crimes, such as terrorism, murder, or organised crime.

Characteristics of Category A Prisons

  • Maximum Security: 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 restricted contact with the outside world and are closely monitored.

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

Which prisons are Category A?

Which prisons are Category A?

List of Category A Prisons in the UK

Belmarsh (London)

Located in the capital, Belmarsh is known for housing high-profile inmates, including terrorists and murderers. It has a reputation for stringent security measures.

Frankland (County Durham)

Situated in County Durham, Frankland is home to some of the UK’s most notorious criminals. It features a high-security “jail within a jail” for the most dangerous inmates.

Full Sutton (Yorkshire)

This facility in Yorkshire is renowned for its rigorous security measures and has housed several high-profile criminals over the years.

Long Lartin (Worcestershire)

Specialising in long-term sentences, Long Lartin in Worcestershire maintains a reputation for high security and has housed a variety of high-risk offenders.

Manchester (Strangeways)

One of the oldest high-security prisons in the UK, Manchester, also known as Strangeways, has been updated to meet modern security standards.

Wakefield (West Yorkshire)

Often referred to as the “Monster Mansion,” Wakefield in West Yorkshire houses some of the most dangerous criminals in the country.

Whitemoor (Cambridgeshire)

Located in Cambridgeshire, Whitemoor has a special unit for prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences.

How Are Inmates Classified as Category A?

The Ministry of Justice conducts a thorough assessment based on factors such as the severity of the crime, the risk of escape, and the threat posed to the public. This assessment is used to determine the most appropriate category for each prisoner.


Category A prisons in the UK play a crucial role in the country’s criminal justice system. These facilities are designed to house the most dangerous and high-risk offenders, ensuring they are securely contained to protect public safety. With state-of-the-art security measures and specialised staff, Category A prisons are nearly impregnable fortresses that serve to protect society from those who pose the greatest threats.

Which prisons are Category A?