When a person is first convicted and sentenced to a custodial period, they are categorised by the prison as A, B C or D the category is dependent on length of sentence and offence. If a person is B,C or D then progress through the prison system is relatively easy.

However, a person who is Category A find themselves in a difficult position unable to progress without formally being taken off Category A, which is also known as ‘The Book’.

In order to be reduced to a Category B prisoner, a yearly review takes place. Initially reports are written and the prisoner instructs a solicitor to assist them with the review. All the reports are put into a dossier and the prisoner/legal representative have the opportunity to respond in writing.

This is added to the dossier and a Local Advisory Panel at the prison make a recommendation. Once that is complete the dossier, representations and recommendation of the LAP goes to the Ministry of Justice’s High Security Department.

The Director of High Security then makes a formal decision which will be;

  • Downgrade the prisoner
  • Send the matter to a hearing before the Director
  • Remain as a Category A prisoner