Re-Categorisation / Open Prisons

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Pure Law Solicitors operate We are the leading prison law firm for Recall, Parole, Adjudications, Early release on Home Detention Curfew and Re-Categorisation. We have a highly experience team of Prison Lawyers with in excess of 30 year experience in this specialist field. Contact our office now to see how we can help you or a loved one.

Re categorisation / Cat D / Open Prisons

Prisons are categorised into four categories:-
Category A – Prisoners that pose the most threat to member of the public, police or national security

Category B – Prisoners sentence to 10 years or more, long term and high security prisoners

Category C – Training and re settlement prisons, the vast majority of prisoners will be category C Prisoners

Category D – Open Prisons, minimal security and allow prisoners to spend most of their day away from the prison to carry out work, education or for other re settlement purposes.
The move to a Category D Prison is significant for any prisoner. It means that they can leave the prison for work (when approved by prison), apply for town visits, apply for overnight release on temporary licence.
The quality of life increase that detainees receive in Open Prisons is substantial and should not be underestimated. The ability to leave the prison on a daily basis for work, to leave the prison overnight to spend time with friends and family and to serve out the rest of their sentence in an open environment can make a positive difference to those who are successful in their applications for re-categoriation to Category D establishments.

The test for recategorization is contained within Prison Service Information documents. It is often wrongly assumed that if a prisoner has behaved during the course of their sentence then they will automatically be granted a moved to an open prison. This is not the case, unless the full criteria are fulfilled then it is unlikely that an application for re categorisation to open conditions will be granted.

Case study 1

Mr A was serving a length sentence for offences of conspiracy to supply Class A Controlled drugs. He was initially a Category B prisoner and had been recategorized to a category C Prisoner. He had made an application to be re categorised to a Category D prisoner and therefore move to open conditions. His application had been refused and he instructed Pure Law Solicitors to deal with his appeal.

We were able to obtain a prompt face to face visit to take instructions and lodge representations within 72 hours. The representations specifically targeted the refusal reasons along with the statutory criteria contained within the PSI, the appeal was granted and the detainee re categorised to Cat D status and moved to an open prison.

Case study 2


Mr X was serving a length custodial sentence for his involvement with a OCG. His application for re-categorisation was refused due to intelligence concerns raised by the police. The prison had attached significant weight to this intelligence and refused to allow client to progress to open conditions. Applications were made for the disclosure of this “intelligence” which lead to evidence significantly undermining it being produced and supplied to ourselves. The police intelligence was poor and the forced disclosure of evidence undermining it leading to the client being granted re-categorisation to a Category D Prison.

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