Understanding Category D Prisoners: Types of Crimes Committed

Prison Info

Understanding Category D prisoners and the types of crimes they’ve committed is key to understanding the UK’s criminal justice system. Category D prisons, also known as open prisons, house offenders classified as low risk to the public and unlikely to escape custody.

Crimes Committed by Category D Prisoners

Category D prisoners are generally there due to committing less severe crimes. Common crimes associated with Category D prisoners include:

  • Non-violent theft crimes such as shoplifting or embezzlement
  • White collar crimes like fraud or insider trading
  • Non-violent drug offenses

These offenses, while serious, are viewed as lighter compared to violent crimes, hence, culprits are categorised as Category D prisoners.

Note that some offenders who initially classified as higher category due to severe crimes may later downgrade to Category D following good behaviour and progress.

Admission into Category D Prisons

Before admission into Category D facility, prisoners undergo thorough risk assessments, including:

  1. Review of the crime committed
  2. Assessment of escape risk
  3. Public risk evaluation
  4. Behaviour analysis while in custody

Only after passing these assessments can an offender be transferred to a Category D facility.

Life in a Category D Prison

Compared to more secure categories, life in a Category D prison offers a degree of freedom. Prisoners can often find work outside the prison, study, or even go home for short periods while serving the sentence. These privileges aim to reintegrate offenders into society gradually.

Transition and Rehabilitation

Being in a Category D prison gives the offenders chance to reflect on their crimes, make amends, work towards rehabilitation, and prepare for release back into the community. One key role of Category D prison is to promote successful transition from prison to free society in order to reduce reoffending rates.

Rehabilitation programs in Category D prisons focus on addressing offending behaviour, imparting life skills, and preparing offenders for their return to the community. These include workshops, classes, counselling sessions and work placements meant to equip prisoners with key skills and improve their employability upon release.


Understanding the roles and nature of Category D prisons provide glimpses into the UK’s criminal justice system’s more humane approach. Recognising that not all crimes carry equal weight and warrant the same level of punishment, Category D prisons offer a more progressive route to incarceration, providing a seeming balance between punitive justice and rehabilitative approach towards dealing with crime in the UK.

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