M.02.01 Security classification of sentenced prisoners

M.02.01.01 Principles of security classification

  1. To enable the containment of sentenced prisoners with a level of supervision appropriate to the level of internal and external risk that a prisoner poses and to ensure that the security classification assigned to a prisoner reflects:
    1. the level of risk posed by that prisoner while inside or outside prison, including
    2. the risk that escape would pose to the public.
  2. Any decisions relating to security classification can be made only by the Chief Executive or lawful delegate.
  3. The authority for delegation is set out in the Chief Executive Delegated Authorities for Prisoner Management to Persons Holding Staff Positions within the Prisons Service issued under section 41 of the State Sector Act 1988.
  4. Prisoners' security classification procedures are completed electronically on the Integrated Offender Management System (IOMS).
  5. A prisoner should be assigned the lowest level of security classification at which the prisoner can be safely and securely managed, given the assessment of the level of risk he / she poses.
  6. A prisoner who has been assigned a security classification must be placed and managed within a facility and regime that is consistent with the prisoner's security classification to the extent practicable (having regard to the availability of accommodation and other resources).

M.02.01.02 Categories of security classification

  1. Female prisoners are assigned a classification reflecting the total points of internal and external risk:
    1. Female initial security classification total points for internal and external risk.

      Part A Points (Internal risk) Part B Points (External risk) Classification
      50+ N/A Maximum
      24-49 N/A High
      0-23 17+ Low-Medium
      0-23 12-16 Low
      0-23 0-11 Minimum
    2. Female review security classification total points for internal and external risk.

      Part A Points (Internal risk) Part B Points (External risk) Classification
      50+ N/A Maximum
      27-49 N/A High
      0-26 17+ Low-Medium
      0-26 12-16 Low
      0-26 0-11 Minimum
  2. Male prisoners are assigned a classification reflecting the total points of internal and external risk:
    1. Male initial security classification total points for internal and external risk.

      Part A Points (Internal risk) Part B Points (External risk) Classification
      36+ N/A Maximum
      22-35 N/A High
      0-21 17+ Low-Medium
      0-21 12-16 Low
      0-21 0-11 Minimum
    2. Male review security classification total points for internal and external risk

      Part A Points (Internal risk) Part B Points (External risk) Classification
      33+ N/A Maximum
      19-32 N/A High
      0-18 17+ Low-Medium
      0-18 12-16 Low
      0-18 0-11 Minimum
  3. The system has three categories of external risk. In combination with the internal system, this creates five overall categories: Minimum, Low, Low-Medium, High and Maximum.
  4. The Low-Medium category makes clear in its name that although the prisoners with this classification have a higher external risk, their internal risk is still the same as that of Minimum and Low category prisoners but they can not be housed in external self-care unit nor can they work outside the wire.
  5. It is important to emphasise the distinction between internal and external risk.
    (See POM M.02.01.Res.03 Security classification placement summary).

M.02.01.03 Definitions

  1. Internal risk is the risk posed by a prisoner to the safety, security and good order of the prison while the prisoner is inside the prison secure perimeter. It indicates the risk of escape posed by the prisoner.
  2. External risk is the risk a prisoner poses when outside the prison secure perimeter, where this is authorised (e.g. temporary release, release to work, temporary removal and employment outside of the perimeter fence line) or as a result of an escape. It includes the risk of escape while outside the prison secure perimeter for authorised reasons.

M.02.01.04 Use of internal and external risk

  1. Internal risk is used to determine:
    1. The security level at which the prisoner will be managed and / or accommodated.
    2. Access to rehabilitative and re-integrative programmes and interventions in accordance with the offender plan, including eligibility for special treatment units.
    3. Internal movement and mixing with other classifications of prisoners within the prison.
    4. Suitability for various types of employment and education, whether unit-based or service-based within the prison.
      (See POM M.02.01.Res.03 Security classification placement summary).
  2. External risk is used to:
    1. Determine a prisoner’s eligibility for applications for authorised leave including temporary removal and temporary release.
    2. Determine employment outside the prison, including supervised work parties and release to work.
    3. Determine prisoner movement when being moved for administrative reasons e.g. on transfer.
    4. Assist the Parole Board to make recommendations to Prisons regarding interventions and reintegration activities a prisoner is required to complete prior to release from prison and / or next Parole Board hearing.

M.02.01.05 Managing change to security classifications

  1. All prisoners will be managed in the initial part of their sentence primarily for safe, humane containment.
  2. As his / her sentence progresses the prisoner will increasingly be managed towards meeting his / her offender plan objectives to reduce his / her risk of re-offending.
  3. The aim is to reduce the risk to public safety by ensuring prisoners participate in targeted interventions to address the matters that may predispose them towards re-offending.
  4. A security classification review must not be undertaken for the purpose of facilitating loss of privileges, transfer to another unit or prison, or to facilitate access to programmes.
  5. Risk to public safety may decline as a prisoner participates in programmes, treatment or counselling that targets factors relating to his / her offending.

M.02.01.06 Managing daily changes in risk

  1. A prisoner’s security classification gives a good indication about their risk level, but their actual risk level can change each day. Staff need to stay aware of changes in risk level. Signs that a prisoner’s risk has changed can include:
    1. changes in mood or behavioural pattern – either more manic / aggressive or more withdrawn / depressive
    2. victimisation or self-harm
    3. changes in family situation, e.g.:
      1. death or illness
      2. relationship break-up
    4. changes in sentence status, e.g.:
      1. parole or appeal denied
      2. new charges laid
      3. new sentence received
    5. recent or pending transfer
    6. complaints by or about prisoner
    7. new intelligence information
    8. prisoner recently dropped out from treatment.
  2. To give staff a good chance to quickly learn about changes in prisoner’s circumstances, they are to maintain a good knowledge and relationship with prisoners in their control.
  3. When a prisoner’s risk level changes, this change is to be recorded as a file note.
  4. When a staff member discovers something that suggests a prisoner’s risk level has changed, it is their responsibility to share this information with everyone responsible for that prisoner.
  5. All groups and services are responsible for observing changes and risk and informing other groups and services. The key relationships are between the following groups and services:
    1. Prisons
    2. Offender Employment
    3. Psychological Services
    4. Health Services.
  6. Sharing information about prisoners is the main way changes in risk levels are to be managed.

M.02.01.07 Suspending permissions and licences temporarily

  1. Daily changes in risk will not usually need any change in placement. However, on a rare occasion it may be necessary to take further steps, such as temporarily suspending permission to work. For example, if a prisoner has been the victim of an assault, it may be appropriate to suspend a release-to-work licence or permission to be housed in a minimum security unit for a short period of time. On the rare occasion permission was to be suspended for longer than a week, this suspension should be reviewed every two weeks with a view to removing the suspension as soon as possible.

M.02.01.08 Security classification to be reviewed when necessary

  1. If there is a large, continuing change in a prisoner’s risk it may be necessary to review their security classification.
  2. A security classification should be reviewed when a temporary change in the way a prisoner is managed is not enough to manage the change in their risk. (All classified prisoners except minimum must have their classification review at least once every 6 months.)
  3. A security classification should not be reviewed when the change in risk is likely to last for less than a month.

M.02.01.09 Managing fluctuations in risk of escape

  1. Procedures for responding to a sudden increase in risk of escape depend on the prisoner's risk classification and the circumstances motivating the risk of escape.
  2. Where a prisoner has a low level of external risk and where the increase in risk is temporary and related to external circumstances (e.g. a family event), the risk may be managed without recourse to a review of the prisoner's security classification.
  3. Alternatives may include referral for help in resolving the crisis, or placement under increased supervision until the crisis is past.
  4. Where a prisoner has a high level of external risk, increased risk of escape is more properly managed by a review of the prisoner's security classification.

M.02.01.10 Managing behaviour dangerous to other persons

  1. If a prisoner's behaviour results in a prisoner being charged with serious assault (see IR.06.Sch.01 Schedule of incident categories - Serious Assaults (Definition guidelines) on the last page) on any other person, the prisoner's security classification must be reviewed and the prisoner's internal risk category must be overridden to the highest category.
  2. The prisoner is to be immediately managed at the highest internal risk category.

M.02.01.11 Prediction of escape

  1. External risk classification system uses the following factors to predict likelihood of escape:
    1. age
    2. current “most serious offence” is a dishonesty offence
    3. time since last escape
    4. number of escapes ever
    5. time on muster
    6. number of prison sentences ever
    7. active deportation order
    8. recent behavioural history
    9. forensic concerns
    10. recent recall to prison
    11. non-minor outstanding court charges.
  2. Manual over-ride to a higher or lower classification than generated by the system is allowed, with a requirement that staff members provide a specific reason for the over-ride.

M.02.01.12 Managing risk to public safety and confidence

  1. Some prisoners pose such grave danger to public safety or public confidence that no level of escape risk is acceptable. The following three categories of prisoner would generally not be allowed to work outside the wire unless manually overridden by staff:
    1. sex offenders rated high risk on the Automated Sexual Recidivism Scale (Tool developed by Psychological Services to assess the risk of sexual re-offending for sex offenders)
    2. prisoners with a high RoC*RoI score who had ever been sentenced to more than five years for a violent or sexual offence
    3. prisoners on sentences of more than five years and who were more than three years away from earliest possible release.
  2. By providing a clearer distinction between the most dangerous violent offenders and the rest, the system provides more opportunity for compliant violent prisoners with a low risk of escape to participate in rehabilitative activity outside the wire (defined generally as the main institution’s secure perimeter – though the precise application will be determined at a local level).
  3. Prisoners whose high profile would pose a risk to themselves or the community if they were to escape should be overridden to a higher classification at the discretion of the relevant senior advisor to regional commissioner.
  4. The senior advisor to regional commissioner should also override classifications where there is evidence a prisoner would pose a credible danger to a specific individual in the community if they were to escape.