PRISONS IN THE UK:
Adult & Young Offenders Prisons: There are currently 139 prisons in England and Wales (including 18 Young Offender Prisons, which could hold young people aged 18-20), 16 prisons in Scotland, and 3 in Northern Ireland.
Children’s Prisons: There are 4 “Secure Training Centres” and 14 “Secure Children’s Homes’ which imprison children aged 12-17.
Immigration Prison: There are 10 immigration “detention” prisons with space to hold 2,306 immigrant prisoners.
Secure Hospitals/Psychiatric Prisons: There are 800 high secure beds in three NHS facilities and 3500 medium secure beds in NHS and private health facilities.
PRISON POPULATION IN THE UK:
The current official UK prison population is approximately: 93,208
England and Wales (1 August 2008): 83,810
Scotland (August 1 2008): 7,858
Northern Ireland (August 4 2008): 1,540
The total figure includes those held in official prisons, police cells under Operation Safeguard, “secure training centres”, “secure children’s homes” and the three immigration detention prisons that are run by HM Prison Service (Dover, Haslar & Lindholme). It does NOT include prisoners held in the UK’s 7 privately-run immigration detention centres, those held in forced psychiatric institutions, prisoners of war or UK nationals held in prisons abroad. It also does does include the people held illegally in secret prisons around the world, either at the hands of, or in complicity with, the UK goverment.
In July 2007, there were 3,723 people held in secure hospitals.
In March 2008, 2,305 people were held in immigration detention prisons in the UK. At least 1,640 of those people had claimed asylum at some stage.
- England & Wales has the highest imprisonment rate in western Europe at 148 per 100,000 of the population.
- The number of prisoners in England & Wales has increased by 25,000 in the ten years from 1996 to 2006. Previously, it took nearly four decades for the prison population to rise by 25,000.
- The number of people found guilty by the courts has remained largely constant over recent years, but the number of people awarded prison sentences has risen dramatically. The number of persons found guilty in 1996 was 1,724,225 and 1,771,378 in 2006. The number given custody at magistrates courts has risen from 25,016 in 1993 to 53,431 in 2006. The number of people given custodial sentence at the crown court has risen from 33,722 in 1993 to 42,586 in 2006.
- Many people are held in prison even though they have not been convicted of a crime. In 2006, for example, 54,809 untried people were held in custody on remand (waiting for trial). On in five (19%) of men and 18% of women held on remand before trial in 2005 were acquitted. Just under two thirds of people received into prison on remand awaiting trial are accused of non-violent offences. In 2006, 15% were remanded for theft and handling of stolen goods.
- The rate of psychiatric imprisonment has been steadily increasing. In 1995, the number of people detained in “forensic” health services was 2,500. By July 2007, the number reached 3,723, a record high.
- England and Wales has the highest number of life-sentenced prisoners in Europe; it has more than Germany, France, Italy, the Russian Federation and Turkey combined.
- Indefinite sentences, that is life and the new sentence of “imprisonment for publci protection (IPP) have grown by 22% in the last year.
- Theer were 10,911 people serving indefinite sentences at the end of March 2008, compared to 3,000 serving indefinite sentences in 1992.
- Approximately 70% of the increase in “demand” for prison sentences between 1995 and 2005 is estimated to have arisen owing to chnages in the custody rate and sentence length.
- In 2004, 18.6% of shoplifters were sent to prison from magistrates courts, compared with 4.7% in 1994.
- The UK prison system has been overcrowded every yera since 1994. Overcrowding pressures have led to worsening conditions, higher rates of self-harm and over-transfer/shifting of prisoners from one prison to another.
- At the end of February 2008, at least 19,382 prisoners were doubled in cells intended for one person, and 1,207 prisoners were held three to a cell designed for two people.
- In 2007, 60,953 prisoners were housed in police cells because of prison overcrowding. The estimated cost of holding a prisoner in a police cell is £459 per night.
- Records show that on 22 February 2008 the prsion population breached the Prison Service’s own safe overcrowding record.
- Since Labour came to power in 1997, more than 20,000 additional prison places have been provided, an increase of 33%.
- Even though there is clear evidence that massive prison institutions do not work, the Labour government plans to build ginat warehouse-style prisons, known as “Titan” prisons, which hold up to 3,000 people.
- In December 2007, the government announced an additinal 10,500 prison spaces to be built by 2014. This is on top of the existing 9,500 capacity programme. The program will include up to three “Titan” prisons.
- The new building program will bring the rate of imprisonment to 178 per 100,000.
- In May 2008 the UK Border agency announced plans to create up to 60% more spaces to imprison immigrants, resulting in the creation of 1,300 – 1,500 extra immigration detention spaces.