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DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE PENITENTIARY SYSTEM OF THE UNITED KINGDOM Separate prison systems operate in the three jurisdictions making up the United Kingdom (UK): England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.Each jurisdiction has its own prison service, inspectorate and Ombudsman.
Many prisons have a visitors’ centre just outside their perimeter.
Prisons can be either publicly owned and run, publicly owned but privately run or, in a few instances (but policy is going this way and numbers are likely to increase), both privately built and managed.
Much of the older stock dates from the Victorian era and can be quite dilapidated and inadequate in facilities. In England and Wales, male adult prisoners are given a security category based on a combination of the type of offence committed, the length of sentence, the likelihood of escape and the danger to the public if they were to escape.
Prisons are classified ‘closed’ or ‘open’, depending on the prisoners they are designed to hold.
The categories of prisoners are: • Category A: those whose escape is deemed to be highly dangerous to the public or national security.
• Category B: those who do not require maximum security, but for whom escape needs to be made very difficult.
• Category C: those who cannot be trusted in open conditions but who are unlikely to try to escape.
• Category D: those who can be reasonably trusted not to try to escape and are given the privilege of an open prison, where they are allowed limited interaction with the public, such as home leave or a nominal employment.
Those holding categories A-C prisoners are considered ‘closed’ prisons.
Category A prisoners are further divided into risk levels, based on their likelihood of escaping.
Men on remand are usually held in Category B conditions.