Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile Autumn 2014

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Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile
Autumn 2014
These ‘Bromley Briefings’ are produced in memory of Keith Bromley, a valued friend
of the Prison Reform Trust and allied groups concerned with prisons and human
rights. His support for refugees from oppression, victims of torture and the falsely
imprisoned made a difference to many people’s lives. The Prison Reform Trust is
grateful to the Bromley Trust for supporting the production of this briefing.
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Table of Contents
Introduction �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 3
England & Wales prison overview ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 4
Scotland prison overview ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 9
Northern Ireland prison overview����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������13
Prison overcrowding, pressure on resources and long term plans �����������������������18
Prison Service performance and staffing �����������������������������������������������������������������������������21
Sentencing trends and legislation ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������22
Life and indeterminate sentences ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������23
People on remand �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������25
Releases from and recalls to prison����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������27
Reoffending ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������29
Social characteristics of adult prisoners������������������������������������������������������������������������������31
Mothers and fathers in custody, prisoners’ children������������������������������������������������������32
Women in prison ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������35
Minority ethnic prisoners �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������40
Foreign national prisoners �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������42
Children in prison ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������44
Young adults in prison �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������48
Older people in prison ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������50
Prisoners with learning disabilities and difficulties ��������������������������������������������������������52
Mental health����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������55
Deaths in custody ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������58
Disability, health and wellbeing �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������61
Drugs and alcohol �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������63
Housing and employment �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������66
Education and skills �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������68
Financial exclusion ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������70
Prison work and volunteering�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������72
Ministry of Justice compliance ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������74
Private prisons ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������76
Community solutions ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������78
Restorative justice ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������79
Public perceptions of crime���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������80
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www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Introduction
A rushed benchmarking process followed hard on
the heels of the massive work and pay restructuring
exercise curiously entitled ‘fair and sustainable’.
Outcomes are as yet untested because so many
prisons are operating well below new minimal
staffing levels due to a combination of unfilled
vacancies and long term absence on sick leave.
Too many establishments, particularly in London
and the South East are reliant on a small army of
reservists, former staff recruited from the North who
will not know their prisoners in the jails into which
they are parachuted, and remaining exhausted,
governors and staff working excessive hours. From
the outside it looks as if the prison service is taking
a pounding in return for its disciplined approach
and capacity to cope with adversity.
The facts and figures about the deteriorating state
of our prisons and the poor state of people in them
present a stark and disturbing picture. Strip away
the political rhetoric, public relations gloss, and
popular media misrepresentation. Discount the
vested interest of those who profit from growing
a market in incarceration. And you are left with a
public prison service cut by £263million in three
years, struggling to cope with the loss of more than
12,500 (28%) of its staff since 2010 and an everrising prison population.
Warning signs reveal a prison system under
unprecedented strain. There has been a sharp drop
in individual prison performance and a marked
increase in staff sickness levels. Detailed reports
by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons chart a decline
in standards and much reduced opportunities for
rehabilitation and resettlement. Serious assaults,
prisoner on prisoner and prisoner on officer, have
risen in adult male establishments along with
concerted indiscipline. Saddest of all, for the first
time in over five years, the number of deaths by
suicide has risen drastically.
From the inside, people in prison endure worsening
conditions, less time out of cell, reduced contact
with staff, new mean and petty restrictions and
unjustified curbs on release on temporary license.
Overcrowding means that people awaiting trial
are mixed in with sentenced prisoners regardless
of their innocent until proven guilty status and
young people are held with adults notwithstanding
their developmental stage. One young man told
the Prison Reform Trust’s advice and information
service that “he is hearing voices and they
are scaring him. He says he phones his mum
sometimes when the voices are scaring him, but
can’t always get to phone when she’s around.”
Every effort is being made to reverse what could
so easily become a trend, rather than a spike, in
numbers of tragic self-inflicted deaths. People in
prison are particularly vulnerable. Compared to the
general population where 6 percent have attempted
suicide, 21 percent of men and 46 percent of
women in prison have tried to kill themselves at
some point in their lives. No one wants to see the
painstaking gains made by safer custody staff and
prisoners working as Samaritan listeners, improved
support, training, first night arrangements, better
assessment and management of risk, all swept
away by reduced staffing levels, harsher regimes
and increased uncertainty and hopelessness.
Prisons are less safe and less decent than they
were even a year ago when we published our
Autumn 2013 compendium of facts and figures.
An incoming administration of government in May
2015 must not accept this deterioration in prison
standards and conditions as the new normal. It
should rebuild confidence in a vital public service
and acknowledge painstaking gains made by staff
and the responsible prisoners who manage to effect
reform from within. It must turn its attention to the
new demographic and changing needs of a rapidly
ageing prison population. It must re-establish the
defining principle that people are sent to prison as
a punishment rather than for punishment. And from
the wreckage it must create a just, fair and effective
penal system.
The scale and driving pace of change in the justice
system mean that mistakes are inevitably being
made at every level. Prison population figures are
being hastily recalculated upwards to reflect the rise
in custodial remand and the increased numbers of
sexual offenders sentenced by the courts as well
as the unquantifiable impact of a Justice Secretary
determined to promote ‘proper punishment’ and
increased use of imprisonment.
3
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
England & Wales prison overview
The proportion of the sentenced prison
population serving a life or indeterminate
sentence for public protection (IPP) sentence
doubled from 9% in 1993 to 18% in 2014.11
Trends
On 10 October 2014, the prison population in
England and Wales was 84,485.1 In 1994, the
average prison population was 48,621.2
At the end of June 2014 there were 5,119 people
in custody serving an IPP sentence. 3,620 (71%)
remained in prison beyond their tariff expiry date.12
England and Wales has an imprisonment rate of
149 per 100,000 of the population. France has an
imprisonment rate of 102 per 100,000 and Germany
has a rate of 81 per 100,000.3
At the end of June 2014 there were 48 prisoners
serving a ‘whole life’ tariff.13
The average time served for people on
mandatory life sentences increased from 13
years in 2001 to 17 years in 2013.14
Between 2002 and 2014, the prison population
grew by 14,291 (20%). During this period the
number on remand fell by 7%, while those
sentenced to immediate custody rose by 25%.4
In the 12 months to March 2014, there were
49,304 people remanded into custody to await
trial.15 Of these, 10,832 people (11%) were
subsequently acquitted.16 A further 16,024 people
(16%) who were remanded into custody went on to
be given a non-custodial sentence.17
Between 31 March 2010 and 30 June 2014
the number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff
employed in the public prison estate fell by 28%,
a reduction of 12,530 staff.5
Prisons are faced with high sickness levels
amongst staff. In 2013-14 the average number
of working days lost to sickness absence by staff
was 10.8 days.6 This compares to an average of 4.4
days per worker in the labour market as a whole.7
On 30 June 2014 the recall population stood at
5,260.18
34,606 people were given sentences up to and
including three months in the year ending March
2014—3% fewer than the same time last year.19
Prisons are getting larger, with a drive to close
small community and open prisons, build larger
jails and add additional capacity to existing
establishments. There are now 29 prisons in England
and Wales holding more than 1,000 men each.8
In the year ending March 2014, 57% of all
custodial sentences were for six months or
less.20
In 2013–14, 50,827 people successfully
completed community payback sentences.
There has been a decline in the volume of
national community payback completions each
year between 2009–10 and 2013–14 due to
courts sentencing people to fewer Community
Orders.21
1,150,249 people were sentenced by the courts
in England and Wales in the 12 months ending
March 2014, a decrease of 4% overall from the
previous 12 months. Of these, 91,895 people were
sentenced to immediate custody, a decrease of 3%
compared to the previous 12 months.9
Average sentence length has been increasing,
it is now three months longer than in 2004. The
average sentence length is 15.5 months.10
11 Ministry of Justice (2013) Story of the prison population: 1993 2012 England and Wales, London: Ministry of Justice and Table A1.1
and A1.12, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics
Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
12 Table 1.9, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics
quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
13 Table 1.9, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics
quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
14 Table A3.4, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice and Table
A3.5 Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2010
15 Table 2.2a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
and January to March 2013
16 Table Q3a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
17 Ibid.
18 Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
19 Table Q5.5, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
20 Ibid.
21 Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management Service
Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum, London:
Ministry of Justice
1 Ministry of Justice (2014) Population and Capacity briefing for 10
October 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
2 Table A1.2, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics
Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
3 International Centre for Prison Studies website, http://prisonstudies.
org/map/europe, accessed on 11 October 2014
4 Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
5 Table 2, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service workforce statistics bulletin: 30 June 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
6 Table 18, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum,
London: Ministry of Justice and Management Information Addendum
2011/12
7 Office for National Statistics (2014) Sickness Absence in the Labour
Market, February 2014, London: ONS
8 Ministry of Justice (2014) Monthly Population Bulletin August 2014,
London: Ministry of Justice
9 Table Q5.1b, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
10 Ibid
4
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At the end of September 2014, 80 of the 118
prisons in England and Wales were overcrowded.22
People aged 60 and over and those aged 50–59
are respectively the first and second fastest
growing age groups in the prison population.
Between 2002 and 2014 there was an increase of
146% and 122% in the number of prisoners held in
those age groups respectively.33
In 2013–14 an average of 19,383 prisoners
were held in overcrowded accommodation,
accounting for 23% of the total prison
population.23 The average number of prisoners
doubling up in cells designed for one occupant was
18,515 (22% of the total prison population).24
Approximately 200,000 children had a parent in
prison at some point in 2009.34 In the same year
more than double the number of children were
affected by the imprisonment of a parent than by
divorce in the family.35
Private prisons have held a higher percentage of
their prisoners in overcrowded accommodation
than public sector prisons every year for the
past 16 years.25
It is estimated that more than 17,240 children
were separated from their mother in 2010 by
imprisonment.36
The women’s prison population in England and
Wales more than doubled between 1995 and
2010, from 1,979 to 4,236.26 More recently the
numbers have declined a little—with 3,929 women
in prison in June 2014.27
Costs
Total spending for public order and safety by the
government was £30.2 billion in 2013–14.37
A total of 9,176 women were received into
custody in the 12 months to March 2014, a fall of
3% on the previous year.28
The National Offender Management Service
(NOMS) is the single largest area of Ministry
of Justice spending. In 2012–13 it’s budget
was £4bn, representing two-fifths of the total
departmental budget.38
There are 1,951 fewer children (10–17) in custody
than there were six years ago—a drop of 65%.29
Numbers of children (under-18s) peaked at an
average of just over 3,000 in custody in 2007–08. At
the end of August 2014 there were 1,068 children in
prison.30
Contracted services now make up 40% of
NOMS’ budget, around £1.4bn.39
Over the last three years public sector prisons
have delivered £263m savings. £84m of this was
delivered through benchmarking and efficiency in
2013–14 as part of the Prison Unit Cost Programme.40
Overall there were 98,837 proven offences by
children aged 10–17 in 2012–13, down 28% from
2011–12 and down 63% since 2002–3. In the last
year there has been a notable reduction in offences
committed by young people, in particular; robbery
(down 39%), public order (down 37%), burglary
(down 37%) and motoring offences (down 32%).31
For 2014–15, NOMS has a savings target
of £149m. £75m of savings are planned in
public prisons through the delivery of the
benchmarking and efficiency programme.41
At the end of June 2014 there were 5,939 young
adults aged 18-20 in prison in England and
Wales—9% fewer than the previous year.32
The average annual overall cost of a prison
place for the 2012–13 financial year was
£36,808. This includes prison related costs met by
the National Offender Management Service, but
excludes expenditure met by other government
departments such as health and education.42
22 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison Population Monthly Bulletin
September 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
23 Hansard HC, 25 June 2014, c215W
24 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison and Probation Trusts performance
statistics 2013/14: Prison performance digest 2013-14, London:
Ministry of Justice
25 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison and Probation Trusts performance
statistics 2013/14: Prison performance digest 2013-14, London:
Ministry of Justice
26 Table A1.2, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
27 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
28 Table 2.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014 and Table 2.1c, Ministry of
Justice (2013) Offender Management Statistics (quarterly), January to
March 2013
29 Figure 2.1, Youth Justice Board (2014) Monthly Youth Custody
Report - August 2014, London: Youth Justice Board.
30 Summary, Ibid.
31 Ministry of Justice (2014) Youth Justice Statistics 2012/13, London:
Ministry of Justice
32 Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
33 Table A1.5, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice.
34 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
35 Office for National Statistics (2011) Divorces in England and Wales
2009, Fareham: Office for National Statistics
36 Wilks-Wiffen, S. (2011) Voice of a Child, London: Howard League
for Penal Reform
37 Table 4.2, HM Treasury (2014) Public Expenditure Statistical
Analyses 2014, London: HM Treasury
38 Whitehead, S. (2014) Justice for sale - the privatisation of offender
management services, London: TUC
39 National Offender Management Service (2014) Business Plan 20142015, London: Ministry of Justice
40 National Offender Management Service (2014) Business Plan 20142015, London: NOMS
41 Ibid.
42 Table 1, Ministry of Justice (2013) Costs per place and costs per
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For the year 2013–14, the cost per place per
year in a secure children’s home was £209,000;
in a secure training centre it was £187,000 and
in an under-18 young offender institution it was
£60,000.43
People in prison: a snapshot
On 9 May 2013 the Justice Secretary announced
plans for all prisoners leaving custody, having
served two days or more, to go on to serve a
minimum of 12 months under supervision in the
community. At present around 50,000 prisoners
serve sentences of less than 12 months and receive
no supervision after release.44
The educational background of children in
custody is poor: 86% of boys and all of the girls
surveyed by HM Inspectorate of Prisons said
they had been excluded from school. More than
a third of boys (37%) and nearly two-thirds of girls
(65%) said they had not been at school since they
were 14.53
The government has estimated that around
13,000 people will be recalled or committed to
custody, requiring around 600 additional prison
places, at a cost of £16m per year.45 It also
acknowledged there may be an additional burden
to the police from extending supervision. This could
cost up to £5 million per year.46
37% of boys and 44% of girls usually had one
or more visits per week from family or friends.54
Half of the children interviewed who had been in
care said that they did not know who would be
collecting them on the day of their release.55
Fewer than 1% of all children in England are in
care51, but looked after children make up 33% of
boys and 61% of girls in custody.52
Prison Reform Trust research found that one
in eight children in prison had experienced the
death of a parent or sibling. 76% had an absent
father, 33% an absent mother. 39% had been on
the child protection register or had experienced
neglect or abuse.56
In 2012–13 the government spent £108m on
electronic monitoring, and £428m on privately
run prisons.47
England and Wales are the biggest users of
electronically monitored curfews outside of the
US. In 2011–12 there were around 105,000 new
tags, with an average caseload of almost 25,000
people at a total cost of £117m.48
66% of women and 38% of men in prison report
committing offences in order to get money to
buy drugs.57
In almost half (49%) of all violent crimes the
victim believed the offender or offenders to be
under the influence of alcohol.58
In 2010, the average construction cost for new
prison places, including costs of providing
ancillary facilities, and excluding running costs,
is approximately £170,000 per place across the
lifetime of the accommodation.49
The number of visitors arrested or apprehended
who have been suspected of smuggling drugs
into prisons fell by 40% in three years from 472
in 2008–09 to 282 in 2010–11.59
In 2010 the National Audit Office reported that,
reoffending by all recent ex-prisoners in 2007–08
cost the economy between £9.5 billion and £13
billion. As much as three quarters of this cost can
be attributed to former short-sentenced prisoners:
some £7–10 billion a year.50
46% of women prisoners surveyed reported
having attempted suicide at some point in their
lives. This compares with 7% of women in the
general population.60
51 Department for Education (2013) Children looked after in England
year ending 31 March 2013, London: DfE, StatsWales website, and
Office for National Statistics (2013) Population Estimates Total Persons
for England and Wales and Regions - Mid-1971 to Mid-2012, London:
ONS
52 Kennedy, E. (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 2012–13,
London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
53 Kennedy, E (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 2012-13,
London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
54 Ibid.
55 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2011) The care of looked after children
in custody, London: The Stationery Office
56 Jacobson J. et al. (2010) Punishing Disadvantage: a profile of
children in custody, London: Prison Reform Trust
57 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
58 Table 3.10, Office for National Statistics (2014) Crime Statistics,
Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, Nature of Crime Tables
2012/13 - Violence, London: Home Office
59 Hansard HC, 3 May 2011, c628W
60 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
prisoner by individual prison, National Offender Management Service
Annual Report and Accounts 2012-13: Management Information
Addendum, London: Ministry of Justice
43 Hansard HC, 27 June 2013, c368W
44 Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Rehabilitation Bill Impact
Assessment, London: Ministry of Justice
45 Ministry of Justice (2013) Updated Impact Assessment for the
Offender Rehabilitation Bill, London: Ministry of Justice
46 Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Rehabilitation Bill Impact
Assessment, London: Ministry of Justice
47 Whitehead, S. (2014) Justice for sale - the privatisation of offender
management services, London: TUC
48 Geoghegan, R. (2012) Future of Corrections: Exploring the use of
electronic monitoring, London: Policy Exchange
49 Hansard HC, 13 September 2010, c847W
50 National Audit Office (2010) Managing offenders on short custodial
sentences, London: The Stationery Office
6
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49% of women in prison suffer from anxiety and
depression and 25% report symptoms indicative
of psychosis.61
47% of prisoners say they have no qualifications.71
Over half of prison staff believe that prisoners
with learning disabilities or difficulties are more
likely to be victimised and bullied than other
prisoners.72
Half of women in prison report having suffered
domestic violence and one in three has
experienced sexual abuse.62
At the end of June 2014 there were 10,834
foreign nationals (defined as non-UK passport
holders) held in prisons in England and Wales,
13% of the overall prison population.73
In the 12 months to March 2014, there were a
total of 23,478 incidents of self-harm in prisons,
756 more than in the previous 12 months.63 27%
of self-harm incidents occurred within the first
month of arriving in a prison—10% in the first
week.64
On 30 June 2014, 26% of the prison population,
21,937 people, was from a minority ethnic
group.74 This compares to around one in 10 of the
general population.75
The rates of men harming themselves in prison
have increased over the last five years, from
156 self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners in
2008 to 214 per 1,000 prisoners in 2013. The rates
for women have fallen over the last three years,
but still remain significantly higher than for men.
In 2010 there were 2,982 self-harm incidents per
1,000 women in prison, this fell to 1,530 in 2013, a
reduction of 49%.65
50% of the total prison population are Christian
(of whom 40% are Anglican, 36% Roman
Catholic, 22% other Christian, 2% Free Church),
14% are Muslim, 2% Buddhist and 30% report
having no religion.76
Outcomes
Prison has a poor record for reducing
reoffending—45.2% of adults are reconvicted
within one year of being released, a reduction
of 1.7 percentage points on the year before. For
those serving sentences of less than 12 months this
increases to 57.5%—an increase of 3.2 percentage
points from 2000. For those who have served 11
or more previous custodial sentences the rate of
reoffending rises to 68.7%.77
Men recently released from prison are eight
times more likely and women 36 times more
likely than the general population to take their
own lives.66
In 2013, 32% of self-inflicted deaths were by
prisoners held on remand, despite comprising
13% of the prison population.67
The number of veterans in prison is estimated
to be 2,820. This is about 3.5% of the prison
population.68
Figures for 2010 show that 45% of women
leaving prison are reconvicted within one year.78
68.2% of children (10–17) released from custody
in the 12 months ending September 2012
reoffended within a year.79
20–30% of all offenders have learning disabilities
or difficulties that interfere with their ability to
cope with the criminal justice system.69
In a Youth Justice Board (YJB) study, 21% of
young people in custody reported that they had
learning difficulties.70
71 Ministry of Justice (2012) The pre-custody employment, training
and education status of newly sentenced prisoners, London: Ministry
of Justice
72 Talbot, J. (2007) No One Knows: Identifying and supporting
prisoners with learning disabilities and learning difficulties: the views
of prison staff, London: Prison Reform Trust and Talbot, J. (2008)
Prisoners’ Voices: Experiences of the criminal justice system by
prisoners with learning disabilities and difficulties, London: Prison
Reform Trust
73 Table A1.7, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
74 Ibid.
75 Table A3.5.2, Equality and Human Rights Commission (2010) How
fair is Britain? Equality, Human Rights and Good Relations in 2010,
London: Equality and Human Rights Commission
76 Table A1.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
77 Table 19a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Proven re-offending statistics
quarterly, April 2011 to March 2012, London: Ministry of Justice, and
Table 7a, Ministry of Justice (2013) Proven re-offending statistics
quarterly January 2011 - December 2011, London: Ministry of Justice
78 Tables S5.26 and S5.28, Ministry of Justice (2011) Adult reconvictions: results from the 2009 cohort, London: Ministry of Justice
79 Table 18b, Ministry of Justice (2014) Proven re-offending quarterly,
October 2011 - September 2012, London: Ministry of Justice
61 Ibid.
62 Corston, J. (2007) The Corston Report, London: Home Office
63 Table 3, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
64 Table 2.5, Ibid.
65 Table 2.1, Ibid.
66 Pratt, D., Piper, M., Appleby, L., Webb, R and Shaw, J. Suicide
in recently released prisoners: a population-based cohort study, The
Lancet - Vol. 368, Issue 9530, 8 July 2006
67 Table 1.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice, and Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice
(2014) Offender Management Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London:
Ministry of Justice
68 Hansard HC, 3 July 2013, c652W
69 Loucks, N. (2007) No One Knows: Offenders with Learning
Difficulties and Learning Disabilities. Review of prevalence and
associated needs, London: Prison Reform Trust
70 Gyateng, T., et al. (2013) Young People and the Secure Estate:
Needs and Interventions, London: Youth Justice Board
7
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A prison with a population of 400 prisoners or
under is four times more likely to perform ‘well’
than a prison with a population of over 800.80
Public prisons are over five times more likely to
perform well for safety than private prisons.81
The likelihood of becoming a victim of crime is
lower than people believe. 13% of respondents
thought that they were very likely or fairly likely to
be a victim of violent crime, compared with 3% who
reported having been a victim of such a crime in the
year before interview.89
11% of prisoners released from custody in
2013–14 had no settled accommodation.82
According to the National Audit Office, there
is no consistent correlation between prison
numbers and levels of crime.90
16% of surveyed prisoners were homeless or
living in temporary accommodation shortly after
release. They had a higher chance of re-offending
with 66% going on to re-offend, compared with
51% of those who were not.83
In an ICM survey on behalf of the Prison Reform
Trust, conducted one month after the riots in
August 2011, a majority of the public (94%)
supported opportunities for offenders who have
committed offences such as theft or vandalism
to do unpaid work in the community, as part of
their sentence, to pay back for what they have
done.91
In 2013–14, just 25% of prisoners entered
employment on release from prison, a fall of two
percentage points since 2011–12.84
The majority of people in prison (97%) expressed
a desire to stop offending. When asked which
factors would be important in stopping them
from reoffending in the future, most stressed the
importance of ‘having a job’ (68%) and ‘having a
place to live’ (60%).85
In August 2012 a Populus poll of victims of
lower level crime showed that 63% support
community sentences as an alternative to prison
for lower level offenders.92
A YouGov opinion poll commissioned by the
Prison Reform Trust in November 2012 revealed
strong public support for effective community
and public health measures to prevent crime
and disorder. Treatment for drug addiction (67%),
intensive supervision of community orders (63%),
and mental health care (60%) were the top three
solutions cited in the poll of 1,552 people across
Britain.93
40% of prisoners and 64% of former prisoners
feel that their debts had worsened during
their sentence. Over half of prisoners’ families
have had to borrow money since their relatives’
imprisonment.86
Court Orders (Community Orders and
Suspended Sentence Orders) are more effective
(by nearly seven percentage points) at reducing
one-year proven reoffending rates than custodial
sentences of less than 12 months for similar
offenders.87
Crime rates have fallen by 14% in the year
ending March 2014. Crime is at the lowest level
since the survey began in 1981 and is now 62%
lower than its peak level in 1995.88
80 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2009) The prison characteristics that
predict prisons being assessed as performing ‘well’: A thematic review
by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
81 Ibid.
82 Table 15, Ministry of Justice (2014) NOMS Annual Report 2013/14:
Management Information Addendum, London: Ministry of Justice
83 Table 4.5, Brunton-Smith, I and Hopkins, K (2014) The factors
associated with proven re-offending following release from prison:
findings from Waves 1 to 3 of SPCR, London: Ministry of Justice.
84 Table 12, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum,
London: Ministry of Justice and Table 13, Ministry of Justice (2013)
NOMS Annual Report 2012/13: Management Information Addendum,
85 Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics,
London: Ministry of Justice
86 Bath, C. and Edgar, K., (2010) Time is Money: Financial
responsibility after prison, London: Prison Reform Trust
87 Table A1, Ministry of Justice (2013) 2013 Compendium of
reoffending statistics and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
88 Table 1, Office for National Statistics (2014) Crime in England and
Wales, Year Ending March 2014, London: ONS
89 Table D22 and D30, Office for National Statistics (2012) Crime in
England & Wales Quarterly First Release to March 2012 - annual trend
and demographic tables, London: ONS
90 National Audit Office (2012) Comparing International Criminal
Justice Systems, London: National Audit Office
91 Prison Reform Trust (2011) Public want offenders to make amends
briefing paper, London: Prison Reform Trust
92 Victim Support and Make Justice Work (2012) Out in the open:
What victims really think about community sentencing, London: Victim
Support
93 Prison Reform Trust (2012) Public back community and health
solutions to cutting crime, 18 December 2012
8
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Scotland prison overview94
There are currently 14 publicly managed prisons and
two privately managed prisons, both run by Serco
(HMP Kilmarnock and HMP Addiewell).Combined,
the two private prisons held some 1,200 prisoners in
2013–14, 15% of Scotland’s prison population.105
Trends
On 10 October 2014 the total population of
prisoners in custody in Scotland stood at 7,755.95
Recent changes to the prison estate include the
closure of HMP Peterhead and HMP Aberdeen in
December 2013 and January 2014 respectively,
and the opening of HMP Grampian in March 2014,
costing £77.7m to construct.106
Over one-third of the adult male population, and
nearly one-tenth of the adult female population is
likely to have at least one criminal conviction.96
The imprisonment rate for Scotland stands
at 147 per 100,000. England and Wales have an
imprisonment rate of 149 per 100,000, France 102
per 100,000 and Germany 81 per 100,000.97
The average daily population on Home Detention
Curfew (HDC) during 2013–14 was 364. In 2012–
13 it was 363.107
In 2012–13, 14,758 people were given a custodial
sentence, accounting for 15% of people found
guilty of an offence, the highest proportion in the
last 10 years.98 The average length of a custodial
sentence in 2012-13 was over nine months (283
days), this is 51 days longer than in 2006-07.99
The average daily population of prisoners recalled
from supervision or licence has increased by 36%
to 701 in 2011–12, from 514 in 2006–07.108
The most common reason for being recalled is for
failure to comply with the technical conditions of
the curfew rather than committing crimes while on
HDC. Being out of curfew for more than six hours
(38% of all recalls) and breach of licence conditions
(24%) accounted for most recall activity. Offending
while on licence appears only rarely to be the cause
of recall (7% recalled for a new warrant served).109
On 6 August 2010 a statutory presumption
against short periods of imprisonment was
decreed in the Scottish Parliament. The Criminal
Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 states “a
court must not pass a sentence of imprisonment for
a term of three months or less on a person unless
the court considers that no other method of dealing
with the person is appropriate.”100
In 2012–13, just 10 custodial sentences were
imposed on children under the age of 16.110
The proportion of people receiving a sentence of
up to 3 months has fallen from 53% of custodial
sentences in 2006–07 to 29% in 2012–13.101
Costs
The average annual cost per prisoner place for
2013–14 was £33,153, excluding capital charges,
exceptional compensation claims and the cost of
the escort contract. This is an increase of £1,227 on
the previous year.111
The official capacity for all 15 Scottish prisons
is 8,155.102 During 2013–14 an average of 7,835
prisoners were held in custody a slight fall on the
previous year (2012–13, 8,014).103
The average daily population of sentenced
prisoners in 2013–14 fell slightly to 6,375.
However, the remand population saw a slight
increase over the same period, rising to 1,476.104
A 2011 report found that it costs £126 per week
to keep someone on HDC, compared to a notional
cost of £610 per week to keep them in prison.112
94 This section has been updated as extensively as possible, however
some statistics have not been updated due to the delayed publication
of Prison Statistics and Projections for 2012-13 by the Scottish
Government owing to technical difficulties.
95 Scottish Prison Service website, accessed on 16 October
2014, available at http://www.sps.gov.uk/Publications/
ScottishPrisonPopulation.aspx
96 The Scottish Government (2013) Discussion Paper on the
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, Edinburgh: The Scottish
Government
97 International Centre for Prison Studies website, http://www.
prisonstudies.org/map/europe, accessed on 25 September 2014
98 Table 7, The Scottish Government (2013) Criminal Proceedings in
Scotland 2012-13, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
99 Table 10(c), Ibid.
100 The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010
101 The Scottish Government (2013) Criminal Proceedings in Scotland
2012-13, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government and Monthly Safer
Communities and Justice Brief – May 2014, Edinburgh : The Scottish
Government
102 International Centre for Prison Studies website, http://www.
prisonstudies.org/country/united-kingdom-scotland, accessed on 25
September 2013
103 Scottish Prison Service (2014) Annual Report and Accounts 201314, Edinburgh: SPS
104 Appendix 3, Ibid.
Hugh Monro, former Chief Inspector of Prisons for
Scotland, has stated that “Securing children, young
offenders or prisoners is not a cheap option ... the
cost of keeping a child in a Secure Unit can be as
high as £250k per annum.”113
105 Appendix 2, Scottish Prison Service (2014) Annual Report and
Accounts 2013-14, Edinburgh: SPS
106 Ibid.
107 Ibid.
108 Table A.1, The Scottish Government (2012) Prison Statistics
Scotland: 2011-12, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.
109 Armstrong, S. et al. (2011) Evaluating the Effectiveness of Home
Detention Curfew and Open Prison in Scotland, Research Findings
No.32/2011, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
110 Table 11, The Scottish Government (2013) Criminal Proceedings in
Scotland 2012-13, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
111 Scottish Prison Service (2014) Annual Report and Accounts 201314, Edinburgh: SPS
112 Armstrong, S. et al. (2011) Evaluating the Effectiveness of Home
Detention Curfew and Open Prison in Scotland, Research Findings
No.32/2011, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.
113 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (2010) Annual Report
9
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Of the £419 million that Audit Scotland estimated was
spent by authorities to deal with people sentenced
in court in 2010–11, £254 million (61%) was spent
restricting the liberty of offenders. 14% (£60.8 million)
was spent on rehabilitation and 16% (£66.7 million)
was spent on reintegration services to support
prisoners moving back into the community.114
The Scottish Government estimates that the total
economic and social costs of reoffending are
around £3 billion a year. Further research estimated
the total cost of reoffending by a single cohort
of offenders who had three or more previous
convictions over a ten-year period was £5.4 billion.
This is considered an under-estimate as it does not
include all the costs incurred by bodies outside the
criminal justice system.115
People in prison: a snapshot
Almost two-thirds of those taking part in the
2013 prisoner survey reported having children
(63%). Of these, two in five (42%) had one child
and just under a third had two children (31%). A
quarter (24%) of prisoners thought that they would
not be caring for their children when they were
released, while 17% of prisoners did not know.116
Nearly half of prisoners surveyed reported being
drunk at the time of their offence (45%). One
in five reported that drinking affected their ability
to hold down a job (21%) and over one-third of
prisoners admitted that their drinking affected their
relationship with their family (35%).117
A higher proportion of women reported
problems with alcohol, with half (50%) reporting
being drunk at the time of their offence—an 8%
increase on 2011. Over half (53%) said that they
would drink 10 or more drinks on a typical day
when drinking, with 29% saying they drank six or
more drinks on a daily, or almost daily, basis.118
Two-thirds (68%) of young offenders reported
being drunk at the time of their offence.119
39% of prisoners reported being under the
influence of drugs at the time of their offence,
with 16% reporting that they committed their
offence to get money for drugs.120
2009-2010, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
114 Audit Scotland (2012) Reducing Reoffending in Scotland 2012,
Edinburgh: Audit Scotland
115 Ibid.
116 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013, Edinburgh:
SPS
117 Ibid.
118 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013: Female
offenders, Edinburgh: SPS
119 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013: Male young
offenders, Edinburgh: SPS
120 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013, Edinburgh:
SPS
Two-thirds (62%) reported using drugs in the 12
months prior to coming into prison. Cannabis
(78%), benzodiazepams (58%) and cocaine (51%)
were the most commonly used drugs.121
Eight in ten (79%) young people in prison
reported that they had used drugs in the 12
months prior to coming into prison and half
(49%) were under the influence of drugs at the
time of the offence.122
A quarter of prisoners reported that they had
taken another prisoner’s prescribed medication
at some point during their time in prison.123
One-quarter reported having a disability (25%),
an increase of six per cent from 2011 (19%), with
68% of these stating that staff in their prison know
they have a disability. Just over one third (36%) of
older prisoners stated that they had a disability.124
A quarter (25%) of young people in prison
surveyed had no qualifications. Over half (56%)
said that they were ‘often’ excluded from school
and four in ten (37%) said that they had ‘often’
attended a Children’s Panel.125
Just over a third of respondents to a Prison
Reform Trust survey of prisons in Scotland
in 2007 said that their prison had a dedicated
learning disability nurse.126
There were 1,822 recorded ‘minor & no injury’
prisoner on prisoner assaults in Scottish prisons
in 2013–14, a 5% rise on the previous year. The
number of serious assaults remained stable at 71.127
85% of prisoners reported positively on the
ability to arrange visits and 84% on access to
family and friends. However, 57% reported that
their visitors experienced problems when visiting
them in prison, most frequently the distance of the
prison from their home (61%) and the cost involved
in getting to the prison (57%).128
A greater number of older prisoners (18%) had
no regular contact with their family and friends
than younger prisoners (9%).129
121 Ibid.
122 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013: Male young
offenders, Edinburgh: SPS
123 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013, Edinburgh:
SPS
124 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013, Edinburgh:
SPS and Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013: Older
prisoners, Edinburgh: SPS
125 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013: Male young
offenders, Edinburgh: SPS
126 Loucks, N. & Talbot, J. (2007) No One Knows: prisoners with
learning difficulties and learning disabilities, Scotland, London: Prison
Reform Trust
127 Scottish Prison Service (2014) Annual Report and Accounts 201314, Edinburgh: SPS
128 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013, Edinburgh:
SPS
129 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013: Older
10
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One-quarter of prisoners indicated that during
their up-bringing they had been in care (27%).130
stable between 1999–2000 and 2009–10, with some
fluctuations in the Strathclyde and Fife area.140
Over half of women reporting had witnessed
violence between their parents/carers when
they were children (56%) compared to four in ten
male prisoners (41%).131
SCCJR analyses suggest that the growth in the
women’s prison population can more likely be attributed
to the increasing use of custodial sentences by courts
than changes in the pattern of female offending.141
59% prisoners surveyed reported they were a
lodger before going to prison, and 34% were
a council tenant. Half of prisoners who specified
said that they lost their tenancy/accommodation
when they went to prison (49%).132
A higher proportion of women commit ‘crimes of
dishonesty’ than men. In 2012–13, 11% of proven
offences by women were for shoplifting, compared with
6% of men.142
The women’s prison population in Scotland
increased 66% in the ten years since 2002-03.133
There has been a slight decrease with an average
daily prison population of 431 women in 2013–14,
26 fewer than the year before.134
The proportion of prisoners on remand is higher
for women than men (23% compared to 19%).135
Only around 30% of women on remand go on to
receive a custodial sentence.136
In 2011–12, 1,979 women were received into
custody on remand, 5% higher than the previous
year.137 The number of women remanded to
custody almost doubled between 1999–2000 and
2008–09 (from 1,176 to 2,338).138
There is evidence that women are being
imprisoned for longer periods of time. Research
by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice
Research (SCCJR) found that the average length of
custodial sentences imposed on women increased
from 228 days in 1999–2000 to 271 in 2008–09.
This difference is largely explained by the significant
increase in the number of women sentenced to
between six months and two years.139
The report found no evidence of increasing
participation in crime by women. Data from five
police forces showed that the number of recorded
crimes involving females has remained relatively
prisoners, Edinburgh: SPS
130 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013, Edinburgh:
SPS
131 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013: Female
offenders, Edinburgh: SPS
132 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013, Edinburgh:
SPS
133 Table A.1 The Scottish Government (2012) Prison statistics
Scotland: 2011-12, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
134 Appendix 5, Scottish Prison Service (2014) Annual Report and
Accounts 2013-14, Edinburgh: SPS and Appendix 2, Scottish Prison
Service (2013) Annual Report and Accounts 2012-13, Edinburgh: SPS
135 Table A.1, The Scottish Government (2012) Prison statistics
Scotland: 2011-12, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.
136 Commission on Women Offenders (2012) Commission on Women
Offenders Final Report: Edinburgh, The Scottish Government
137 Table A.9, The Scottish Government (2012) Prison statistics
Scotland: 2011-12, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
138 McIvor, G. and Burman, M. (2011) Understanding the Drivers
of Female Imprisonment in Scotland, Glasgow: The Scottish Centre for
Crime and Justice Research
139 Ibid.
According to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill,
two-thirds of the women at Cornton Vale, Scotland’s
only all-women prison, were serving sentences of
six months or less. Commenting on this, MacAskill
said they had “typically been jailed for low level
offences ... four out of five women going to Cornton
Vale have a mental health problem and seven out of 10
have a disclosed history of abuse or trauma ... so while
the staff at Cornton Vale are doing a fantastic job, a
short-term prison environment is not always conducive
to identifying root problems and dealing with them
effectively.”143
A report by the Commission on Women Offenders,
chaired by former Lord Advocate, Dame Elish
Angiolini, stated that “Cornton Vale is not fit for
purpose.” It recommended that it is replaced with a
smaller specialist prison for those women offenders
serving a statutory defined long-term sentence and
those who present a significant risk to the public.144
In March 2014, a 50-place regional unit opened at HMP
Grampian for women from the north east of Scotland.
A Regional Unit in Edinburgh is planned for women from
the east and south-east.145 A 350 place women’s prison is
planned near Greenock to replace HMP Cornton Vale at
an estimated cost of £60m.146
Specialist services designed to meet the complex
needs of women offenders can help them to tackle
the causes of their offending. Women who used
the services at the 218 Service in Glasgow identified
significant decreases in drug and/or alcohol use (83%),
improvements in their health and wellbeing (67%),
access to stable accommodation and referrals to longerterm support services.147
140 Ibid.
141 Ibid.
142 Tables 6(a) and 6(b), The Scottish Government (2013) Criminal
Proceedings in Scotland 2012-13, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
143 Kenny MacAskill argues against short prison sentences, STV, 30 July
2009, available at http://news.stv.tv/scotland/112781-kenny-macaskillargues-against-short-prison-sentences/
144 Commission on Women Offenders (2012) Commission on Women
Offenders Final Report: Edinburgh, The Scottish Government
145 Scottish Prison Service (2014) Annual Report and Accounts 2013-14,
Edinburgh: SPS
146 Gall, C. (2014) Children of jailed mums may be allowed sleepovers at
new £60m women’s prison, Daily Record online, available at http://www.
dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/children-jailed-mums-allowedsleepovers-4427493
147 Commission on Women Offenders (2012) Commission on Women
Offenders Final Report: Edinburgh, The Scottish Government
11
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Rehabilitation and resettlement
Over a quarter of prisoners surveyed in 2013
said that they have received help/treatment for
drug use during their sentence (28%), an eight
per cent drop since 2011.148
One-third of prisoners surveyed said they did
not know where they would be staying upon
their release (34%).149
Sentenced prisoners spent a total of 6,909,121
hours in purposeful activity in 2013–14, this
equates to 22 hours a week on average per
person.157
The Scottish Justice Committee has called for a
national strategy on purposeful activity to ensure
all prisoners in Scotland are offered equal access
to opportunities such as work, education and
rehabilitation programmes.158
A quarter of prisoners had accessed services
while in prison in order to help them prepare for
release (26%), a decline from 2011 figures (34%).
Of those who accessed services, 70% had sought
advice about housing and 41% about employment.150
In 2013–14 there was one abscond from custody,
and 11 people failed to return to custody. The
same total as the previous year.159
Over three-quarters of young people in prison
cited that ‘getting a job’ (78%) was most likely
to stop them offending in the future. Over half
of those who responded said ‘staying off alcohol’
(57%), ‘having a partner’ (55%), or ‘getting a house/
flat of my own’ (52%) would help.151
The number of crimes reported in the Scottish
Crime and Justice Survey has fallen by 22%
since 2008–09, from 1,045,000 crimes in 2008–09
to 815,000 crimes in 2012–13.160
Only four in ten young people in prison (38%)
said they attended a learning centre in prison,
compared to half of adults (50%).152
Outcomes
44% of people released from custody are
reconvicted within a year, rising to 61% for
people with more than 10 previous convictions.153
33% of people on a Community Sentence go on
to reoffend within a year.154
Young people (under-21) have the highest
reconviction rate of all age groups, 34.5% were
reconvicted in 2011–12, a decrease of 1.5% from
2010–10.155
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said:
“Short sentences simply don’t work. They
are ineffective and of no practical benefit to
communities. If we are serious about improving the
safety of our communities, we need to ensure that
our prisons focus on the most serious criminals for
whom prison is the only option.”156
148 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013, Edinburgh:
SPS
149 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013, Edinburgh:
SPS
150 Ibid.
151 Scottish Prison Service (2013) Prisoner Survey 2013: Male young
offenders, Edinburgh: SPS
152 Ibid.
153 Tables 7 and 9, The Scottish Government (2014) Reconviction
rates in Scotland: 2001-12 offender cohorts, Edinburgh: The Scottish
Government
154 Table 7, Ibid.
155 Table 3, Ibid.
156 Gardham, M (2009) Fury at Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill
over plans to release short-term prisoners, accessed on 16 October
2014, available at http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics-
Public perceptions of crime
The risk of being a victim of a crime has fallen
from 20.4% in 2008–09 to 16.9% in 2012–13. The
risk of crime is lower in Scotland than in England
and Wales where the victimisation rate was 18.7%
in 2012–13.161
However, adults were more likely to think that
they would experience crime than they actually
were. Six times as many adults thought they
were likely to have their home broken into than
actually did (7% compared with the actual risk of
housebreaking of 1.2%).162
Two-thirds of adults (66%) surveyed either
strongly or slightly agreed that community
sentencing is an effective way of dealing with
less serious crime. 48% agreed that learning new
skills during community sentences stops low level
offenders from committing more crimes.163
67% surveyed agreed that drug users need
treatment not prison.164 In 74% of crimes where
the victim thought that the offender(s) should have
been prosecuted, the victim thought the offender(s)
should have been given a sentence other than
custody.165
news/2009/09/01/fury-at-justice-secretary-kenny-macaskill-over-plansto-release-short-term-prisoners-86908-21639184/
157 Scottish Prison Service (2014) Annual Report and Accounts 201314, Edinburgh: SPS
158 Justice Committee’s 5th Report 2013 (Session 4): Inquiry into
purposeful activity in prisons (SP Paper 299)
159 Scottish Prison Service (2014) Annual Report and Accounts 201314, Edinburgh: SPS and Scottish Prison Service (2013) Annual Report
and Accounts 2012-13, Edinburgh: SPS
160 The Scottish Government (2014) Scottish Crime and Justice
Survey 2012/13, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
161 Ibid.
162 Ibid.
163 The Scottish Government (2014) Scottish Crime and Justice
Survey 2012/13, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
164 The Scottish Government (2011) 2010/11 Scottish Crime And
Justice Survey, Edinburgh: The Scottish Government
165 Ibid.
12
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Northern Ireland prison overview
On 12 April 2010 policing and criminal justice
powers were devolved from Westminster to the
Northern Ireland Assembly.166
Trends
On 26 September 2014 the total prison
population for Northern Ireland stood at 1,798,
60 fewer people than the previous year.167
A total of 8,004 people were received into custody
during 2012, a 31% increase since 2009.168
The imprisonment rate for Northern Ireland
is 99 per 100,000. England and Wales have an
imprisonment rate of 149 per 100,000, France has a
rate of 102 per 100,000 and Germany has a rate of
81 per 100,000.169
The proportion of sentences resulting in custody
increased between 2010 to 2012. It rose from
8.9% (2,785) in 2010 to 10.3% (3,363) in 2011 and
11.8% (3,621) in 2012. A further 10.3% (3,203) of
convictions were suspended custodial sentences
in 2010, this rose to 12.0% (3,894) in 2011, and
further in 2012 to 13.7% (4,203) of convictions.170
The average sentence length for those in prison
on 31 March 2014 was 5.6 years. For adult women
it was four years, a slight fall on the previous year.171
On 31 March 2014, 18% of the sentenced prison
population (279 people) were serving sentences
of under 12 months. 12% (177 people) were
serving life sentences.172
The Criminal Justice (NI) Order 2008
allowed for the introduction of two public
protection sentences within Northern Ireland,
‘indeterminate’ and ‘extended’ custodial
sentences. The number of public protection
sentences rose from 41 in 2010, accounting for
1.5% of all custodial sentences, to 78 in 2012,
accounting for 2.2% of all custodial sentences.173
166 The Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Devolution of Policing and Justice
Functions) Order 2010
167 Northern Ireland Prison Service, situation report for 26 September
2014
168 Department of Justice (2014) The Northern Ireland Prison
Population: Receptions 2009-2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
169 International Centre for Prison Studies website, http://www.
prisonstudies.org/map/europe, accessed on 25 September 2014
170 Department of Justice (2014) Northern Ireland Conviction and
Sentencing Statistics 2010 - 2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
171 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2014) Analysis of NIPS Prison
Population from 01/01/2013 to 31/03/2014, Belfast: Department of
Justice
172 Ibid.
173 Department of Justice (2014) Northern Ireland Conviction and
Sentencing Statistics 2010 - 2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
Between January and March 2014, 327 people
entered prison under sentence. During the same
period 622 people entered prison on remand, a
10% fall on the previous year.174
Between 2009–12 there was a 59% increase
in receptions into prison for fine default (2,473
compared with 1,554).175
However, the number of people in prison for fine
default has fallen significantly in the last two years.
Between January and March 2014, only five people
were committed to prison for default of fine compared
with 183 people during the same period in 2013.176
In 2012, the average number of people being held
in prison on remand in Northern Ireland was 545.177
Remand accounted for 43% of all receptions into
prison, with 3,440 receptions in total.178
For many years, a high proportion of people in
prison in Northern Ireland were being held on
remand but the figures are now falling. The total
percentage for the remand population at the end of
March 2013 was 27% and at the end of June 2014
it was 22%. This compares to 14% for England and
Wales, and 20% for Scotland (2011–12 average).179
As at the end of June 2014, the average time
people spent in prison on remand was 4.39
months.180
The current capacity for Northern Ireland
prisons is 1,885, with a current occupancy level
of 89.7%.181
The number of prisoners held in HMP
Maghaberry rose from 410 in May 2000, to over
1,100 in November 2013.182
174 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2014) Analysis of NIPS Prison
Population from 01/01/2013 to 31/03/2014, Belfast: Department of
Justice
175 Department of Justice (2014) The Northern Ireland Prison
Population: Receptions 2009-2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
176 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2014) Analysis of NIPS Prison
Population from 01/01/2013 to 31/03/2014, Belfast: Department of
Justice.
177 Department of Justice (2013) The Northern Ireland Average Prison
Population in 2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
178 Department of Justice (2014) The Northern Ireland Prison
Population: Receptions 2009-2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
179 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2014) Analysis of NIPS Prison
Population from 01/01/2013 to 31/03/2014, Belfast: Department of
Justice and Analysis of NIPS Prison Population from 01/04/2013
to 30/06/2014; Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender
Management Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry
of Justice; and Table A.1, The Scottish Government (2012) Prison
statistics and population projections Scotland: 2011-12, Edinburgh:
The Scottish Government
180 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2014) Analysis of NIPS Prison
Population from 01/04/2013 to 30/06/2014, Belfast: Department of
Justice
181 International Centre for Prison Studies website, http://www.
prisonstudies.org/country/united-kingdom-northern-ireland, accessed
on 25 September 2014
182 Northern Ireland Prisoner Ombudsman (2013) Inside Issues Winter 2013, Belfast: The Prisoner Ombudsman for NI
13
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On 26 September 2014 there were 65 women in
prison in Northern Ireland.183 This is more than
double the number of women in prison 10 years
ago.184
Although women only accounted for 7% of all
receptions during 2012, this figure has risen
from 5% during 2009. The number of receptions
over the same period has increased at a faster rate
than that for men (74% compared to 29%).185
Female receptions for fine default more than
doubled (121% increase) from 2009 to 2012 (118
to 261). In 2010 and 2012 the majority of female
receptions were for fine default.186
The total number of young people (aged 10–17)
entering custody in 2012–13 was 211, four more
than the previous year.187 The majority were boys,
188 (89%), and 23 were girls, broadly similar to
previous years.188
In 2012–13 the total average daily population of
children in the Juvenile Justice Centre (JJC) was
29, the highest average since 2007–08 when the
figure was 32 young people.189
Children on remand accounted for the largest
proportion of the JJC population, with 16%
being held in custody on remand.190
Just over two-fifths (42%) of young people in
custody in 2012–13 were aged 17 to 18. A further
26% were aged 16 and 18% were aged 15. There
were nine children aged 10 to 13, accounting
for 4% of the overall number of young people in
custody.191
Just under half (49%) of children entering
custody under PACE (pre-charge) go on to be
remanded or sentenced. They usually remain in
custody for “at most, a few days” according to the
Youth Justice Agency (YJA).194
There is a clear pattern of increased PACE
admissions at weekends. YJA analysis found
that twice as many PACE admissions occurred
on Saturday or Sunday compared to any other
individual day of the week.195
The number of prisoners aged 17–20 at
reception increased by 30, from 106 in 2009, to
136 in 2012 (an increase of 28% over that three
year period).196
Costs
The estimated cost of reoffending in Northern
Ireland is approximately £80 million.197
In 2012–13 the average cost per prisoner place
was £66,494, significantly lower than the £73,762
reported in 2010–11.198 However, previous reports
by prison inspectors have revealed the true costs
could be higher by as much as £16,000.199 The
target for 2014–15 is £60,800.200
For 2013–14 the Northern Ireland Prison
Service’s opening resource budget is £112
million, with a further £9.1 million for capital
projects. £23.5 million of savings were planned
during the year, of these £21 million are savings
from the staff exit scheme.
People in prison: a snapshot
The proportion of young people in custody aged
17 and over increased by 11% in the last year.
This increase can be partly attributed to changes in
policy that increased the remit of the JJC to include
all young people under the age of 18.192
In March 2014 there were 131 foreign nationals
in prison in Northern Ireland, four more than the
same time the year before. 53% were currently on
remand, and men accounted for 93% of the foreign
national prison population.201
30% of children in custody in 2012–13 were
in care (18% subject to a care order and 12%
voluntary accommodated).193
The national and ethnic mix in prisons in Northern
Ireland has changed considerably in recent years.
The majority of foreign nationals are from eastern
183 Northern Ireland Prison Service, situation report for 26 September
2014
184 Table 1, Department of Justice (2013) The Northern Ireland
Average Prison Population in 2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
185 Department of Justice (2014) The Northern Ireland Prison
Population: Receptions 2009-2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
186 Ibid.
187 Table 1, Youth Justice Agency (2014) Youth Justice Agency Annual
Workload Statistics 2012/13, Belfast: YJA
188 Table 9, Ibid
189 Ibid.
190 Ibid.
191 Table 10, Ibid.
192 Ibid.
193 Table 12, Ibid.
194 Table 14, Ibid.
195 Ibid.
196 Table 4, Department of Justice (2013) The Northern Ireland
Average Prison
Population in 2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
197 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (2010) Northern
Ireland Prison Service Corporate Governance Arrangements, Belfast:
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland
198 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2013) Annual Report and
Accounts 2012-13, Belfast: Department of Justice
199 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (2011) An inspection
of prisoner resettlement by the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Belfast:
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland
200 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2014) Prison Service Management
Board Meeting Minutes - 29 May 2014, Belfast: NIPS
201 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2014) Analysis of NIPS Prison
Population from 01/01/2013 to 31/03/2014, Belfast: Department of
Justice
14
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Europe, primarily Lithuania and Poland, or from
China. Only around 1% of the prison population is
Black or South Asian. Irish Travellers also account for
about 1% of the population.202
The Prisoner Ombudsman’s Office initiated
investigations into the deaths of 44 prisoners
between September 2005 and December 2013.
43 men and one woman—an average of five each
year.203
There were four reported deaths in custody in
2013–14, three were at Maghaberry prison and
one was at Hydebank Wood.204
At 5 September 2011, 67% of all prisoners
were on prescribed medication. The levels of
prescribing at the three Northern Ireland prison
establishments were HMP Maghaberry, 80%;
HMP Magilligan, 58%; and HMP Hydebank Wood,
38%.205
Women prisoners in Northern Ireland are still
held on the same site as young male prisoners,
a situation described by the Criminal Justice
Inspectorate in 2011 as “fundamentally
unsatisfactory”.210 The Northern Ireland Prison
Service has now published plans, subject to
business case approval, to provide a dedicated
facility for women in custody as well as “step-down”
accommodation for women nearing the end of their
sentence.211
Women in prison in Northern Ireland are in
general an older population than men: nearly
half (47%) are aged between 40 and 59,
compared with only 22% of men.212
Around 40% of women prisoners have no
previous convictions.213
64% of women were receiving some form of
social security benefit before entering prison.214
34% of prisoners entering prison have a literacy
ability and 51% have a numeracy ability at a
level broadly equated to that expected of a nine
year old.206
45% of women in prison surveyed in 2013 said
they had children under the age of 18.215 52%
said that it was difficult or very difficult for family
and friends to visit.216
54% of young people screened have a
communication need. The YJA is working with the
Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
in piloting e-learning and screening tools.207
A snapshot view of women prisoners in Northern
Ireland early in 2008 shows that half had a history
of alcohol misuse, with 40% misusing drugs.217
According to the Department of Justice, “most
women offenders pose a low risk, or even
no risk, to society as a whole. Even in cases
where women are convicted of violence against
the person, this may be linked to a relationship
problem, a mental health issue or to the effects
of substance misuse. In many cases, the violent
offence is assault against a police officer while
resisting arrest.”208
72% of women sentenced to prison in 2009 were
convicted of non-violent offences, and one in
five women entering prison was imprisoned for
fine default.209
202 Prison Review Team (2011) Review of the Northern Ireland Prison
Service Conditions, Management and Oversight of all Prisons: Final
Report, Belfast: Prison Review Team
203 The Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (2014) Corporate
Plan 2014-2017, Belfast: The Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern
Ireland
204 The Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (2014) Annual
Report 2013-14, Belfast: The Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
205 Northern Ireland Assembly Debates, 19 September 2011,
Prisoners: Medication, AQO 330/11-15
206 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2014) Building for the future Northern Ireland Prison Service Estate Strategy, Belfast: Department of
Justice
207 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (2014) Monitoring
of progress on implementation of the youth justice review
recommendations, Belfast: CJI Northern Ireland
208 Department of Justice (2013) Reducing offending among women
2013-2016, Belfast: Department of Justice
209 Table 12 and Table 7, Department of Justice (2010) The Northern
Ireland Prison Population in 2009, Belfast: Department of Justice
Experiences of physical abuse and sexual abuse
were recorded in the majority of women’s presentence reports (74.5% physical abuse, 10.5%
sexual abuse).218
88% of women had experienced depression
while in prison. 60% had been taking some form
of medication prior to their imprisonment.219
48% had experienced suicidal thoughts, 32%
had self-harmed, and 32% had attempted to
take their own lives.220
210 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (2011) An inspection
of prisoner resettlement by the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Belfast:
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland
211 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2014) Building for the future Northern Ireland Prison Service Estate Strategy, Belfast: Department of
Justice
212 Table 4, Department of Justice (2013) The Northern Ireland
Average Prison Population in 2012, Belfast: Department of Justice
213 Northern Ireland Office (2009) Addressing Offending by Women: a
literature review, Belfast: Northern Ireland Office
214 Ibid.
215 National Preventive Mechanism (2013) Report on an announced
inspection of Ash House, Hydebank Wood Women’s Prison, Belfast:
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland
216 Ibid.
217 Department of Justice (2010) Women’s Offending Behaviour in
Northern Ireland: a strategy to manage women offenders and those
vulnerable to offending behaviour 2010-2013, Belfast: Department of
Justice
218 Northern Ireland Office (2009) Addressing Offending by Women: a
literature review, Belfast: Northern Ireland Office
219 Ibid.
220 Ibid.
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Outcomes
45% of adults released from custody went on
to reoffend within a year. For those released from
custody who reoffended, 58% had done so within
the first three months of release; rising to 79% by
the end of the first six months.221
Of the 32 children released from custody in
2010–11, 25 committed a proven reoffence, 18 of
these within the first quarter of the year.222
In 2010–11 the one year reoffending rate for a
diversionary youth conference plan was 31%—
community disposals such as youth conference
order had a reoffending rate of 54%, and 63%
for a supervision order.223
Between 2008–09 and 2011–12 on average
93% of agreed youth conference plans were
successfully completed. During the same period,
on average 77% of all referrals received result in a
completed youth conference plan.224
Direct victim attendance at youth conferences
was 49% for 2012–13. The previous figure was
78%, however this related to any victim, whereas
the new measurement was solely ‘direct victims’.
There was an upward trend in attendance rates.225
Direct victims “reported a satisfaction rate of
between 90–100%”.226
Inspectors reported that purposeful activity
provision at Ash House, Northern Ireland’s
only women’s prison, “was very poor and the
paucity of opportunities had a negative affect on
equipping women for release.”227
Most prisoners at Hydebank Wood young
offenders centre (aged 18–21) were found to
spend too long locked in their cells. There
was significant regime slippage, frequent and
unpredictable lock-downs, and activities were often
cancelled at short notice.228
221 Duncan, L. (2014) Adult Reoffending in Northern Ireland (2010/11
Cohort), Belfast: Department of Justice
222 Duncan, L. (2014) Youth Reoffending in Northern Ireland (2010/11
Cohort), Belfast: Department of Justice
223 Table 5, Ibid.
224 Tables 26 and 27, Decodts, M. and O’Neill, N. (2014) Youth Justice
Agency Annual Workload Statistics 2012/13, Belfast: Youth Justice
Agency
225 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (2014) Monitoring
of progress on implementation of the youth justice review
recommendations, Belfast: CJI Northern Ireland
226 Ibid.
227 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (2014) Annual Report
and Accounts 2013/14, Belfast: CJI Northern Ireland
228 National Preventive Mechanism (2013) Report on an announced
inspection of Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre, Belfast:
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland
Only 7% of prisoners at Hydebank Wood said
they went out on exercise three or more times
a week, and 15% said they went on association
more than five times a week.229
Inspectors also found that there were not enough
activity places, and what was available was
poorly utilised. Only a small number of prisoners
accessed work or education regularly, and levels of
attainment and accreditation were low.230
Catholic prisoners were more negative than
Protestant respondents on a range of key
outcomes when surveyed by inspectors. Despite
the prison’s own monitoring identifying poorer
outcomes for them there was little or no effective
action to understand the reasons, or to provide
reassurance or to identify and address them.231
Prison Service performance
The Northern Ireland Prison Service has been
under considerable scrutiny in recent years and
since 2005 there have been over 20 external
reviews and inspection reports, most of which
have identified the pressing need for reform.
During 2012–13 a total of 360 staff left the prison
service as part of the Voluntary Early Retirement
scheme, with a further 157 on the scheme. 241
new custody officers were employed during the same
period, with plans for another 80 to join during the
year.232
During 2013–14, absence in the Prison Service
totalled 13.8 days per member of staff against
the Department of Justice target of 9.7 days.
This is down from 14.4 days in 2011–12.233
The independent Prison Review Team, chaired by
Dame Anne Owers, found in 2011 that the cost of
sick absence was £4.6 million per annum, and at
Hydebank Wood alone is £1.33 million per annum—
equivalent to 5.5% of the entire operating budget.234
229 Ibid.
230 Ibid.
231 Ibid.
232 Northern Ireland Prison Service (2013) Annual Report and
Accounts 2012-13, Belfast: Department of Justice
233 Northern Ireland Assembly Debate, 10 June 2014, available at
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2014-06-10.2.152#g2.153 and
Northern Ireland Prison Service (2012) Annual Report and Accounts
2011-12, London: The Stationery Office
234 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (2010) Northern
Ireland Prison Service Corporate Governance Arrangements, Belfast:
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland
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The interim report by the Prison Review Team
found that “despite considerable expense, all
three prisons, and Maghaberry in particular,
have unacceptably poor regimes, which waste
resources and do not allow prisoners access
to the activities and interventions they need to
support change and reduce reoffending.”235
Foreign national prisoners made only 2% of all
complaints received in 2013, despite comprising
some 8% of the overall prison population. This is
despite an interpretation service available to people
who cannot speak English.241
Within the Northern Ireland Prison Service there
are 1,883 uniformed grade officers supported
by almost 400 civilian grades. The 2010 review of
the Service’s corporate governance highlighted that
“despite this complement of staff there are many
occasions when there is insufficient staffing levels
to deliver an effective service.”236
The risk of becoming a victim of crime is lower
in Northern Ireland (10.9%) than in England and
Wales (18.7%).242
In addition “the practice, for example, of
managing staff absences through a daily
realignment of the prison regime is unproductive
and meant substantial lockdowns with
restrictions on time out of cell and the delivery
of meaningful purposeful activity for prisoners
such as workshops or education classes.”237
Crime
There were 100,389 police recorded crimes in
Northern Ireland during 2012–13. The lowest level
of crime recorded by the police since new counting
rules were introduced in 1998–99.243
The percentage age breakdown for all Northern
Ireland Prison Service staff shows a significant
proportion of staff in the higher age groups; 52%
of staff were in the 35-49 age group (35% male,
17% female) and 34% were 50-64 (28% male,
6% female).238
The latest inspection of Hydebank Wood young
offenders centre found that overall safety was a
concern. Many felt victimised by other prisoners or
staff. There had been inertia in developing a robust
approach to violence reduction, and more needed
to be done to challenge poor behaviour effectively.
Lessons had not been fully learned from recent
deaths in custody, and although self-harm incidents
were low, attitudes to this issue were sometimes
complacent.239
Complaints to the Prisoner Ombudsman for
Northern Ireland were upheld in 50% of cases
during 2013. This compares to 31% in England and
Wales.240
235 Prison Review Team (2011) Review of the Northern Ireland Prison
Service Conditions, Management and Oversight of all Prisons: Interim
Report, Belfast: Prison Review Team
236 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (2010) Northern
Ireland Prison Service Corporate Governance Arrangements, Belfast:
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland
237 Ibid.
238 Ibid.
239 National Preventive Mechanism (2013) Report on an announced
inspection of Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre, Belfast:
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland
240 Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (2014) Corporate Plan
2014-2017, Belfast: Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
241 Ibid.
242 Table A4, Campbell, P. and Cadogan, G. (2013) Experience of
Crime: Findings from the 2012/13 Northern Ireland Crime Survey
243 Ibid.
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Prison overcrowding, pressure on
resources and long term plans
Prison overcrowding is defined by the Prison
Service as a prison containing more prisoners
than the establishment’s Certified Normal
Accommodation (CNA). “CNA, or uncrowded
capacity, is the Prison Service’s own measure of
accommodation. CNA represents the good, decent
standard of accommodation that the service aspires
to provide all prisoners.”244
The limit to overcrowding in prison is called the
Operational Capacity. The Prison Service defines
it as: “the total number of prisoners that an
establishment can hold without serious risk to
good order, security and the proper running of
the planned regime.”245 For the first time, recorded
figures showed that on 22 February 2008, at 82,068
the prison population breached the Prison Service’s
own safe overcrowding limit.246
Building is underway to construct new
houseblocks at HMPs Thameside, The Mount,
Parc and Peterborough. They all are scheduled
to be operational by April 2015.253
Work to develop a new 2,100 place prison in
Wrexham, North Wales has also begun and is
scheduled to be fully operational by late 2017.254
It is expected to cost £212m to build.255
The Ministry of Justice is currently undertaking
a feasibility study for a second large new prison
with the intention of replacing HMYOI Feltham
with a large new adult prison and a new youth
facility on adjoining sites in West London.256
29 prisons now hold over 1,000 men, compared
with only 12 a decade ago.257
Prison closures in England since 2010
Prison name
Closure
Ashwell
2011
Brockhill
2011
Lancaster Castle
2011
Latchmere House
2011
Morton Hall
2011
Wellingborough
2012
Blundeston
2013
Bullwood Hall
2013
Camp Hill
2013
Seventeen prisons have closed since 2010 and
a further two have transferred to the private
sector.250 Following the closure of four prisons
announced in September 2013 NOMS has saved
approximately £30m annually.251
Canterbury
2013
Dorchester
2013
Gloucester
2013
Kingston
2013
Two new prisons, HMP Thameside (capacity
900) and HMP Oakwood (capacity 1,605) were
opened in spring 2012.252
Northallerton
2013
Reading
2013
Shepton Mallet
2013
Shrewsbury
2013
The prison population was 112% of the ‘in use
CNA’ (75,695) at the end of September 2014.247
At the end of September 2014, 80 of the 118 prisons
in England and Wales were overcrowded.248
Estimates of future prison numbers vary widely.
By the end of June 2019 the demand for prison
spaces is projected to be between 77,300 and
86,600.249
Changes to the prison estate
244 The Prison Service, Prison Service Order 1900, Certified Prisoner
Accommodation
245 Ibid.
246 National Offender Management Service (2008) Prison Population
and Accommodation Briefing - 22 February 2008, London: NOMS,
accessed on 16 October 2014, available at http://bit.ly/1reQHpX
247 Ministry of Justice (2014) Monthly Population Bulletin September
2014, London: Ministry of Justice
248 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison Population Monthly Bulletin
September 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
249 Table A1, Ministry of Justice (2013) Prison Population Projections
2013-2019, London: Ministry of Justice
250 Figure 5, National Audit Office (2013) Managing the prison estate,
London: The Stationery Office and Table 1.19, Ministry of Justice (2014)
Safety in Custody Statistics Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths
in prison custody 1978 to 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
251 National Offender Management Service (2014) Annual Report and
Accounts 2013/14, London: Ministry of Justice
252 Ministry of Justice (2013) National Offender Management Service
Annual Report 2012/13, London: Ministry of Justice
253 National Offender Management Service (2014) Business Plan
2014-2015, London: Ministry of Justice
254 National Offender Management Service (2014) Annual Report and
Accounts 2013/14, London: Ministry of Justice
255 Croasdale, C. (2014) Category B inmates at Wrexham prison can’t
be ruled out, NewsNorthWales, available at
http://www.newsnorthwales.co.uk/news/134265/category-b-inmatesat-wrexham-prison-can-t-be-ruled-out.aspx
256 Ministry of Justice website, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/
modernisation-of-the-prison-estate, accessed on 19 September 2013
257 Ministry of Justice (2014) Monthly Population Bulletin August
2014, London: Ministry of Justice and Table 4, Home Office (2004)
Monthly Prison Population data August 2004, London: Home Office
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Overcrowding
Ten most overcrowded prisons in September 2014265
Private prisons have held a higher percentage of
their prisoners in overcrowded accommodation
than public sector prisons every year for the
past 16 years. However, the gap has narrowed
over the past year, with private prisons holding
on average 24% of prisoners in overcrowded
accommodation, compared with 23% in public
prisons.258
Amongst private prisons, Forest Bank, Birmingham,
Altcourse and Doncaster have particularly high
rates of overcrowding, with 43.3%, 47.8%, 60.6%
and 66.6% of prisoners held in overcrowded
accommodation respectively.259
In 2013–14 an average of 19,383 prisoners
were held in overcrowded accommodation,
accounting for 23% of the total prison
population.260 The average number of prisoners
doubling up in cells designed for one occupant was
18,515 (22% of the total prison population).261
The rate of overcrowding in male local
establishments is almost twice the national
rate.262
In 2012–13, the total cost of transferring
prisoners was £134.3 million. This excludes
category A prisoners. During this time there were
74,054 inter-prison transfers, an average of 1,424
transfers a week.263
The most recent HM Inspectorate of
Prisons annual report highlights the impact
overcrowding places on people in prison and
resources. “Overcrowding is not simply an issue
of how many prisoners can be crammed into
the available cells but also affects whether the
activities, staff and other resources are available
to keep them purposefully occupied and reduce
the likelihood they will reoffend. A prisoner who is
unemployed because there is no activity available
for him might spend 22 hours a day, and eat all
his meals, with another prisoner in a small cell
designed for one, perhaps eight foot by six foot,
with an unscreened toilet.”264
258 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison and Probation Trusts performance
statistics 2013/14: Prison performance digest 2013-14, London:
Ministry of Justice
259 Ibid.
260 Hansard HC, 25 June 2014, c215W
261 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison and Probation Trusts performance
statistics 2013/14: Prison performance digest 2013-14, London:
Ministry of Justice
262 Table 17, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum,
London: Ministry of Justice
263 Hansard HC, 21 May 2013, c752W and Hansard HC, 24 June
2013, c20W
264 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
In use
CNA
Operational
%
Population
Capacity
Overcrowded
Swansea
242
455
449
86%
Exeter
318
561
542
70%
Wandsworth 943
1,640
1,606
70%
Leicester
214
414
359
68%
Lincoln
403
739
660
64%
Preston
434
800
711
64%
Durham
591
1,015
957
62%
Kennet
175
342
272
55%
Bedford
322
511
489
52%
Doncaster
738
1,145
1,122
52%
Prison
In his 2012 annual report HM Chief Inspector
of Prisons warned “Resources are now stretched
very thinly.” His view overall was that their
“inspection findings suggest that there is a risk
of undermining the progress that has been made
in recent years ... if a rehabilitation revolution is
to be delivered ... there is a pretty clear choice
for politicians and policy makers - reduce prison
populations or increase prison budgets.”266
In 2011-12, 41% of prisoners who responded
to the Prisons Inspectorate’s surveys reported
feeling unsafe. Feelings of safety were poorest at
high security prisons, followed by local prisons. At
both types of prisons, the proportion of prisons feeling
unsafe was higher than at the same types last year.267
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
(PPO) has highlighted the damaging effects of
prisoners being transferred on ‘overcrowding
drafts’. Prisoners are often moved from
establishments that they know and are known by to
other busy prisons where they may feel less safe. A
number of PPO investigations have drawn attention
to the potentially tragic consequences of this.268
265 Ministry of Justice (2014) Monthly Population Bulletin August
2014, London: Ministry of Justice
266 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
267 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
268 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2009) Annual Report 20082009, London: COI
19
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Resources
Over the last three years public sector prisons
have delivered £263m savings. £84m of these
were achieved through benchmarking and
efficiency in 2013–14 as part of the Prison Unit Cost
Programme.269
For 2014–15, NOMS has a savings target
of £149m. £75m of cuts are planned in
public prisons through the delivery of the
benchmarking and efficiency programme.270
Accommodation costs have been reduced by
£133m over the last three years, whilst maintaining
overall capacity at the same level as 2010.271
Between 2009–10 and 2012–13 the cost of a
prison place reduced in real terms by 10 per
cent. The Prison Unit Cost Programme will achieve
a saving of £306m per annum from 2015–16 and
reduce overall unit cost by approximately £2,200
per place.273
Since the end of 2013 the prison population has
been operating above published projections,
and by the end of April 2014, it was 300 above
the high projection and 1,300 above the medium
projection. This has led to additional costs to the
Ministry of Justice.274
The closure of prison places in December 2013
and January 2014 and the re-role of The Verne to
an IRC are estimated to secure a further £37m
of savings. By the end of 2014–15, the capacity
management programme will have delivered £170m
in savings and closed over 7,000 places.272
Average prison population in England and Wales,
1993-2013
NOMS spending reductions over period of
2010 Comprehensive Spending Review
Source: Table A1.2, Offender Management Statistics Prison Population 2014
269 National Offender Management Service (2014) Business Plan
2014-2015, London: NOMS
270 Ibid.
271 Ibid.
272 Ibid.
Source: NOMS Business Plan 2014-15
273 National Offender Management Service (2014) Business Plan
2014-2015, London: NOMS
274 Ministry of Justice (2014) Annual Report and Accounts 2013-14,
London: Ministry of Justice
20
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Prison Service performance and staffing
The proportion of prisons whose performance,
as rated by the National Offender Management
Service, is “of concern” or “of serious concern” has
risen from 13% in 2012-13, to 23% in 2013-14.275
Between 31 March 2010 and 30 June 2014
the number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff
employed in the public prison estate fell by 28%, a
reduction of 12,530 staff.276
The ratio of prison officers to prisoners in 2000
was 1:2.9, by the end of September 2013 this had
increased to one prison officer to 4.8 prisoners.277
Prisons are faced with high sickness levels amongst
staff. In 2013–14 the average number of working days
lost to sickness absence was 10.8 days, a rise from 9.8
days in 2011-12.278 This compares to an average of 4.4
days per worker in the labour market as a whole.279
NOMS has written to 2,066 former officers inviting
them to join HM Prison Service Reserve for fixed
term contracts of up to nine months.280
Reduction in NOMS employed prison staff
In 2013 there were 11,397 recorded prisoner
on prisoner assaults, a small decrease on the
previous year, however this masks a significant
rise (27%) over the last ten years.281 The prison
population has risen 14% over the same period.282
There has been a 27% increase in serious
assaults in the last year, with 1,588 incidents in
2013. Prisoner on officer assaults have also risen by
12% over the same period, with 2,843 incidents in
2013, 289 of them classed as serious.283
In 2013 there were 75 self-inflicted deaths in
prisons in England and Wales, an increase of
23% from 2012 where there were 61.284 This figure
includes the death of two women, and five young
people aged 18-20.285
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has found
that in the 52 cases of deaths from natural causes
of prisoners in outside hospitals, restraints were
used during final inpatient stays on 29 occasions.286
HM Prisons Inspectorate expect that prisoners
spend at least 10 hours out of their cells on
weekdays but over the course of 2011–12 this was
rarely achieved, particularly among young adults:
only 5% of young adults were unlocked for the
expected length of time. In local prisons, time out
of cell was dramatically lower than those inspected
in 2010–11, mostly due to a reduction of evening
association from four to just two or three nights a
week or an earlier lock up time in an effort to reduce
costs. In high security, Category B trainers and open
prisons, however, time out of cell had improved.287
In spot checks, inspectors repeatedly found at
least 25% of a prison’s population locked up
during the day with nothing to do.288
The average length of time that a governor spent
in a particular post, in public sector prisons,
between January 2008 and December 2013 was
three years and four months.289
Source: Table 1, National Offender Management Service (2014)
NOMS Workforce Statistics June 2014
275 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison and Probation Trusts performance
statistics 2013-14: Prison performance digest 2013-14, London: Ministry
of Justice and Prison performance digest 2012-13
276 Table 2, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service workforce statistics bulletin: 30 June 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
277 Hansard HC, 23 July 2007, c785W and Deposited paperDEP2014-0327
278 Table 18, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum,
London: Ministry of Justice and Management Information Addendum
2011/12
279 Office for National Statistics (2014) Sickness Absence in the Labour
Market, February 2014, London: ONS
280 Hansard HC, 14 July 2014, c491W
In 2012–13 the percentage of black and minority
ethnic staff in public prisons and NOMS
headquarters was 6.7%.290
281 Table 3.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
282 Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
283 Table 3.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
284 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice
285 Table 1.2 and Table 1.3, Ibid.
286 Ryan-Mills, D. (2010) Review: fatal incidents reports from
September 2008 to August 2009, London: Prisons and Probation
Ombudsman for England and Wales
287 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
288 Ibid.
289 Hansard HC, 10 March 2014, c115W
290 Ministry of Justice (2013) National Offender Management Service
21
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Sentencing trends and legislation
1,150,249 people were sentenced by the courts
in the 12 months ending March 2014, a decrease
of 4% overall from the previous 12 months.291
8% of people sentenced by the courts were
given a custodial sentence in the 12 months
ending March 2014.292
91,895 people were sentenced to immediate
custody in the year ending March 2014, a drop of
3% compared to the previous 12 months.293
Approximately 70% of the increase in demand
for prison places between 1995 and 2005 is
estimated to have arisen owing to changes in
custody rate and sentence length.294
Average sentence length has been increasing,
it is now three months longer than in 2004. The
average sentence length is 15.5 months.295
The proportion of the sentenced prison
population serving a life or indeterminate
sentence for public protection (IPP) sentence
doubled from 9% in 1993 to 18% in 2014.296
Life sentenced prisoners are now serving longer in
prison. The average time served for people serving
mandatory life sentences increased from 13 years
in 2001 to 17 years in 2013.297 Judges are imposing
a longer ‘tariff’, or period of punishment to be served
before the prisoner can be considered for release.298
There were 71,481 prisoners under sentence at 30
June 2014, a 1% increase on the previous year.299
48,122 people received an immediate custodial
sentence at the crown court. This is a fall of 2%
on the same time last year.300
Magistrates’ courts accounted for 43,773 sentences
of immediate custody in the 12 months ending
March 2014, down 5% on the previous year.301
Annual Report 2012/13, London: Ministry of Justice
291 Table Q5.1b, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
292 Ibid.
293 Ibid.
294 Carter, P. (2007) Lord Carter’s Review of Prisons, Securing the
future, London: Ministry of Justice
295 Table Q5.1b, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
296 Ministry of Justice (2013) Story of the prison population: 1993 2012 England and Wales, London: Ministry of Justice and Table A1.1
and A1.12, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics
Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
297 Table A3.4, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice and Table
A3.5, Ministry of Justice (2011) Offender Management Caseload
Statistics 2010, London: Ministry of Justice
298 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2013) A Joint Inspection of Life
Sentenced Prisoners, London: HM Inspectorate of Probation
299 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
300 Table Q5.3a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
301 Table Q5.2a, Ibid.
At magistrates’ courts the average sentence
length for immediate custody is 2.5 months.302
In the 12 months ending March 2014, 57% of
immediate custodial sentences imposed were
for six months or less.303
34,606 people were given sentences up to and
including three months in the 12 months ending
March 2014—3% lower than the same time last
year.304
In the 12 months ending March 2014, 437 people
were given an indeterminate custodial sentence,
half (51%) that of the previous year. The abolition
of the IPP sentence accounts for this fall, as
there has been an 18% rise in the number of life
sentences handed out over the same period.305
In the 12 months ending March 2014 there were
925 people sentenced to 10 years or more—
nearly three times the number sentenced during
the same period in 2008.306
In the 12 months ending March 2014, 60% of
women entering prison under sentence were
handed a sentence up to and including six months,
compared with 44% of men.307 Theft and handling
accounted for 40% of sentenced women and 23%
of sentenced men entering prison.308 16% of women
serving sentences of under twelve months have no
previous convictions compared to 8% of men.309
Of all those in prison on short sentences of six
months or under, 58% have 15 or more previous
convictions, 10% between 11 and 14, 12%
between seven and 10, and only 3% have no
previous convictions.310
On 9 May 2013 the Justice Secretary announced
plans for all prisoners leaving custody, having
served two days or more, to go on to serve a
minimum of 12 months under supervision in the
community. At present around 50,000 prisoners
serve sentences of less than 12 months and receive
no supervision after release.311 The government
has estimated that around 13,000 people will be
recalled or committed to custody, requiring around
600 additional prison places, at a cost of £16m per
year.312
302 Ibid.
303 Table Q5.5, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
304 Ibid.
305 Ibid.
306 Ibid.
307 Table 2.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
308 Table 2.2b, Ibid.
309 Table A1.24, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
310 Ibid.
311 Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Rehabilitation Bill Impact
Assessment, London: Ministry of Justice
312 Ministry of Justice (2013) Updated Impact Assessment for the
Offender Rehabilitation Bill, London: Ministry of Justice
22
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Life and indeterminate sentences
Life sentences
The number of people serving life and
indeterminate sentences for public protection
(IPP) has increased sharply in recent years.
There were 12,587 people serving indeterminate
sentences at the end of June 2014.313 This
compares with fewer than 4,000 in 1998 and 3,000
in 1992.314
At the end of June 2014 there were 7,468 people
serving life sentences in prison. 4,006 of whom
had a tariff length of 10 to 20 years, 1,974 had
a tariff length of less than 10 years and a further
1,204 had a tariff length of greater than 20 years.321
The proportion of the sentenced prison
population serving a life or IPP sentence
doubled from 9% in 1993 to 18% in 2014.315
As of 1 September 2012, England and Wales had
by far the highest number (7,674) of sentenced
prisoners serving life sentences in Europe more than France, Germany and Italy combined
(4,084).316
In the 12 months ending March 2014, 437 people
were given an indeterminate custodial sentence,
half (51%) that of the previous year. The abolition
of the IPP sentence accounts for this fall, as
there has been an 18% rise in the number of life
sentences handed out over the same period.317
Despite progress being made over the past year
in reducing the Parole Board backlog the recent
Osborne judgement by the Supreme Court has
significantly increased the number of cases
requiring an oral hearing. The latest forecast
suggests the number of oral hearings will double
from 4,500 to 9,000 a year.318
On 1 April 2014 the total backlog of Parole Board
cases to be reviewed stood at 2,022—57 fewer
than its peak in July 2010 but a 53% increase on
the previous year.319
15 people serving indeterminate sentences took
their own lives in 2013, the highest figure since
2007. Nine were serving life sentences, the other six
were serving an IPP.320
313 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
314 Table 1.8, Home Office (2003) Prison Statistics England and Wales
2002, London: The Stationery Office
315 Ministry of Justice (2013) Story of the prison population: 1993 2012 England and Wales, London: Ministry of Justice and Table A1.1
and A1.12, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics
Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
316 Table 7, Aebi, M. and Delgrande, N. (2014) Council of Europe
Annual Penal Statistics, Survey 2012, Strasbourg: Council of Europe
317 Table Q5.5, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
318 Parole Board (2014) The Board Sheet: Issue 49, London: The
Parole Board
319 Hansard HC, 22 July 2014, c1155W
320 Table 1.11, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice
At the end of June 2014 there were 2,557 people
in prison serving life sentences who were
beyond their tariff expiry date. This makes up
34% of all life sentenced prisoners.322
At the end of June 2014 there were 48 prisoners
in England and Wales serving a ‘whole life’
tariff.323
Life sentenced prisoners are now serving longer
in prison. The average time served for people
serving mandatory life sentences increased from
13 years in 2001 to 17 years in 2013.324
A recent joint inspectorate report found that
prisoners were often poorly prepared for the
move from closed to open conditions and that
as a result, many suffered a ‘culture shock’ on
their arrival.325
Inspectors found it was often harder for male
life sentenced prisoners to access constructive
interventions, particularly for sexual offenders,
as many courses were run for determinate
prisoners only. Demand for programmes vastly
exceeded supply in many prisons. Spaces on
courses were often taken by IPP prisoners who
were treated as a higher priority especially if they
had passed their tariff expiry date.326
A Joint Inspectorate report found that new
arrangements for providing education within
prison, under the Offender Learning and Skills
Service contract, had significantly reduced the
available options for life sentenced prisoners.327
The vast majority of life sentenced prisoners are
successfully integrated back into the community
on release. 6% of those sentenced to a mandatory
life sentence and 5.6% of those serving other life
sentences reoffended in some way on release,
compared to 45.2% of the overall prison population.328
321 Table 1.9, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
322 Ibid.
323 Ibid.
324 Table A3.4, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice and Table
A3.5, Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2010
325 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2013) A Joint Inspection of Life
Sentenced Prisoners, London: HM Inspectorate of Probation
326 Ibid.
327 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2013) A Joint Inspection of Life
Sentenced Prisoners, London: HM Inspectorate of Probation
328 Table 19a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Proven reoffending statistics:
October 2011 to September 2012, London: Ministry of Justice
23
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Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection
(IPP)
The government abolished the current IPP
sentence as part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing
and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. However,
people currently serving an IPP sentence
remain in prison until directed for release by the
Parole Board. Whilst the Act gives the Secretary
of State power to change the release test with the
potential to place the burden of proof on the state
to demonstrate dangerousness there has been no
indication that it will be revised.
HM Chief Inspectors of Prisons and Probation
have stated that “the current situation is not
sustainable … even with the recent changes in
legislation, these numbers far exceed the capacity
of the probation service and the prison system
(and the Parole Board for that matter) to deliver the
necessary quality of service.”336
HM Chief Inspectors of Prisons and Probation
have described those serving IPP sentences
as “prisoners with many and complex needs,
including mental health, learning disability and a
risk of self-harm.”337
A new Extended Determinate Sentence (EDS) has
been created whereby all people convicted of serious
sexual and violent crimes are imprisoned for at least
two-thirds of their sentence, with an extended period
of licence on release of up to five years for violent
offences, and eight for sexual offences.329
Nearly one in five IPP prisoners have previously
received psychiatric treatment, while one in 10 is
receiving mental health treatment in prison and
one in five is on prescribed medication. One IPP
prisoner in 20 is, or has been, a patient in a special
hospital or regional secure unit.338
Changes to the arrangements for sentence
planning are intended to help more IPP prisoners
work towards their legitimate release.330
Data from the Prison Service’s Safer Custody
Group also confirm that IPP prisoners have
a raised incidence of self-harm.339 In 2013
IPP prisoners accounted for 9% of all self-harm
incidents despite making up 7% of the total prison
population.340
Only two people were given an IPP sentence
in the 12 months to March 2014, following its
abolition.331 However, at the end of June 2014
there were 5,119 people still serving an IPP
sentence in prison.332
At the end of June 2014, 18% of prisoners (927)
serving IPPs had a tariff of less than two years,
and 45% (2,290) had a tariff of between two and
four years.333
A total of 3,620 IPP prisoners (71%) had passed
their tariff expiry date by the end of June 2014, 924
of whom have a tariff of less than two years.334
As of 31 March 2014, 740 people were between two
and four years past their tariff expiry date, 587 were
between four and six years, 136 were between six and
eight years, and three people were still in prison more
than eight years beyond their tariff expiry.335
329 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
330 NOMS (2012) Prison Service Instruction 41/2012, London: Ministry
of Justice
331 Table Q5.5, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
332 Table 1.9, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
333 Ibid.
334 Table 1.9, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
335 Ministry of Justice, Freedom of Information request 90756,
accessed on 16 October 2014, available at https://www.gov.uk/
government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/322328/
indeterminate-sentences-public-protection-uk-annex-a.xls
A 2012 report by the Ministry of Justice shows
that Parole Board members feel that access
to suitable programmes, lack of approved
premises places for prisoners on release,
resource constraints and delays in the system
continue to be barriers to the release of IPP
prisoners on parole. Some Parole Board members
expressed concerns that prisoners with mental
health problems and learning disabilities or
difficulties might not be able to benefit from the
traditional programme group-facilitation method,
and instead would benefit from one-to-one work.341
In October 2010 the president of the Prison
Governors Association called for the release of
the 2,500 prisoners who were jailed indefinitely
for the public’s protection (IPP) and had served
more than their minimum tariff.342
336 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2010) Indeterminate sentences
for public protection: A Joint Inspection by HMI Probation and HMI
Prisons, London: CJJI
337 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and HM Chief Inspector of
Probation (2008) The indeterminate sentence for public protection: A
thematic review, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
338 Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (2008) In the dark: The mental
health implications of Imprisonment for Public Protection, London:
Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health
339 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and HM Chief Inspector of
Probation (2008) The indeterminate sentence for public protection: A
thematic review, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
340 Table 2.6, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Update to March 2014 - Self harm in prison custody 2004 to 2013,
London: Ministry of Justice and Tables A1.6 and A1.1, Ministry of
Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics Annual Tables 2013,
London: Ministry of Justice
341 Ministry of Justice (2012) Research Summary 1/12 The decision
making process at parole reviews (Indefinite Imprisonment for Public
Protection sentences), London: Ministry of Justice
342 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/call-for-public-
24
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People on remand
In the 12 months to March 2014, 49,304 people
were remanded into custody to await trial. In
the same year 33,585 people were remanded
into prison convicted but awaiting sentence. This
represents an increase of 1.5% and a decrease of
5.3% respectively from the same time last year.343
In 2013–14 the average cost of placing a child
remanded to custody in a Secure Training
Centre was £187,000 per annum. This excludes
associated costs of custody such as education and
transportation.351
Untried remand receptions by offence type 12
months ending March 2014:352
Offence Group
In the 12 months ending March 2014, 10,832
people (11%) remanded in custody were
subsequently acquitted. A further 16,024 people
(16%) who were remanded into custody went on to
be given a non-custodial sentence.344
The remand population at the end of June 2014
was 12,197—1,226 more people (11%) than the
previous year. The majority of this increase was
due to the rise in the number of people awaiting
trial (875), with 371 more people in prison awaiting
sentence.345
Remand prisoners spend an average of nine
weeks held in custody awaiting trial and/or
sentencing.346
In 2012–13 there were 1,900 custodial remand
episodes given by the courts to children, a
nearly half (48%) the number in the previous
year.347 61% of children remanded in 2012–13 went
on to be given a non-custodial sentence, including
26% who were acquitted.348
On 30 June 2014, 187 children (under 18) in
prison (25% of the total child prison population)
were on remand, three children more than in the
previous year.349
In the 12 months ending March 2014, 63% of
people received into prison on remand awaiting
trial were accused of non-violent offences. 15%
were remanded into custody for theft and handling
offences, and 8% for drug offences.350
protection-prisoners-to-be-freed-2104311.html
343 Table 2.2a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
and January to March 2013
344 Table Q3a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
345 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
346 Hansard HC, 21 January 2013, c51W
347 Table 6.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Youth Justice Statistics
2012/13 England and Wales, London: Ministry of Justice
348 Table 6.5, Ibid.
349 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
350 Table 2.2a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
Violence against the person
Other offences
Theft and handling
Burglary
Drug offences
Robbery
Sexual offences
Offence not recorded
Fraud and forgery
Motoring offences
Total
12,725
10,900
7,155
5,569
3,989
3,245
2,053
1,611
1,127
930
In the past year the number of women on
remand has risen by 15%, with 93 more women
in prison than the year before. On 30 June 2014,
694 women were in prison on remand, making up
18% of the female prison population.353
3,790 women entered prison on remand awaiting
trial in the 12 months ending March 2014—an
increase of 4% on the previous year.354
In 2013, 32% of self-inflicted deaths were by
prisoners held on remand, despite comprising
13% of the prison population.355
In Prisons Inspectorate surveys almost a third of
all remand prisoners said they were from a black
or other minority ethnic background (compared
with just over a quarter in the prison population
as a whole), which rose to just over two-fifths in
the young adult estate. Similarly, foreign nationals
were over-represented, especially in the women’s
estate where over a quarter said they were foreign
nationals.356
Half of all remand prisoners reported to the
Prisons Inspectorate that they had been in
prison on two or more previous occasions, 34%
reported that this was their first time in prison.357
351 Hansard HC, 27 June 2013, c368W
352 Table 2.2a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
353 Table 1.1, Ibid.
354 Table 2.2a, Ibid. and Table 2.2a, Ministry of Justice (2013) Criminal
Justice Statistics Quarterly Update to March 2013, London: Ministry of
Justice
355 Table 1.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice, and Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice
(2014) Offender Management Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London:
Ministry of Justice
356 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2012) Remand prisoners, a thematic
review, London: The Stationery Office
357 Ibid.
25
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Over a third (35%) of remand prisoners reported
a drug problem and over a quarter (27%) an
alcohol problem. 66% of those who reported
substance misuse problems said they had received
some treatment or help, although only 48% said
they knew who could help to put them in contact
with services in the community. Remanded young
adults with a substance misuse problem were much
less likely (65%) than those sentenced (81%) to say
they had received an intervention.358
In Prisons Inspectorate surveys, 47% of remand
prisoners concerned about bail said they had
found it difficult to get bail information.359
Remand prisoners reported feeling less safe
than sentenced prisoners.360
High rates of both unconvicted (40%) and
convicted unsentenced (37%) prisoners reported
they were not involved in any activities at the
time of the Inspectorate’s survey in 2012.361
Information on the number of unconvicted
prisoners who have received no social visits
from family is not centrally collated.362
Remand prisoners receive no financial help
from the Prison Service at the point of release.
They are also not eligible for practical support with
resettlement from the Probation Service, even
though they can be held on remand for as long as
12 months.363
358 Ibid.
359 Ibid.
360 Ibid.
361 Ibid.
362 Hansard HC, 7 December 2010, c201W
363 Citizens Advice (2007) Locked Out: CAB evidence on prisoners
and ex-offenders, London: Citizens Advice
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Releases from and recalls to prison
In the 12 months ending March 2014, a total of
77,010 people were released from determinate
sentences in the 12 months to March 2014, a
decrease of 8% on the previous year.364
Between 2009 and 2013, just 45 prisoners
were granted early release on compassionate
grounds.365
On 4 July 2013 the Justice Secretary announced
that 70 prisons across England and Wales will
become resettlement prisons. The intention is
that the vast majority of prisoners are released from
prisons in, or close to, the area in which they will
live.366
Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL)
A total of 11,400 individuals were granted at
least one instance of ROTL in 2012. This is a
13% increase on the number of individuals granted
at least one instance of ROTL in 2008, which was
10,100.367
In 2012, there were 485,000 releases on
temporary licence (ROTL) with 428 failures,
most for failure to return, late to return, or
other breach of licence. Only 26 involved the
person being arrested on suspicion of committing
an offence—this equates to five failures in every
100,000 releases.368
Of the 428 recorded failures, 271 (63%) were
committed by an offender on a determinate
sentence. 74 (17%) were committed by a person
on a life sentence and the remaining 83 (19%) were
committed by a person serving an IPP sentence.369
Following a small number of high profile
escapes and absconds of people on ROTL,
the policy has been reviewed. The new policy
includes enhanced and targeted monitoring, more
detailed risk assessments and clearer schedules
of activity. Another significant change coming this
December is the introduction of mandatory tagging
for people whilst on ROTL.370
Absconds from prisons in England and Wales
Source: NOMS Prison performance digest: 2013-2014
364 Table 3.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
and Offender Management Statistics quarterly, January to March 2013
365 HC Hansard, 10 February 2014, c488W
366 Ministry of Justice (2013) 70 resettlement prisons announced for
England and Wales. Ministry of Justice website available at
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-resettlement-prisonsannounced-for-england-and-wales
367 Ministry of Justice (2014) Statistical Notice: Releases on
temporary licence, 2012, London: Ministry of Justice
368 Ibid.
369 Ibid.
370 National Offender Management Service website, accessed on
16 October 2014, available at https://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/
offenders/psipso/psi-2014/psi-37-2014-eligible-open-conditions.pdf
27
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Recall
In the 12 months ending March 2014, 17,515
people were recalled to custody, an increase of
7% on the previous year.371
There were 5,260 recalled prisoners in prison on
30 June 2014, an increase of 3% compared to
the previous year.372
The recalled population grew rapidly between
1993 and 2012, increasing by 5,300. This reflected
a higher recall rate caused by changes to the law
making it easier to recall prisoners, and changes
introduced in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which
lengthened the licence period for most offenders.373
Recalled prisoners currently make up 6% of the
prison population.374
Home Detention Curfew (HDC)
In the 12 months ending March 2014, 10,003
people were released on HDC, a 19% fall on the
previous year.375
In 2013 just 22% of people eligible for HDC were
released, 3% fewer than the previous year.376 On
10 October 2014, 2,068 people were on HDC.377
In 2013 there were 701 decisions to recall from
HDC. Of those recalled, less than 1% (four
cases) involved new charges.378
Licence and supervision
The Crime and Courts Act 2013 introduced
a new mandatory punitive element for all
community sentences, unless there are
exceptional circumstances. Extra punitive
requirements on community orders, such as
extended curfews or other complex, additional
restrictions, are likely to lead to an increase in
breach of license requirements, particularly by
young people.
371 Table 5.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
and Offender Management Statistics quarterly, January to March 2013
372 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
373 Ministry of Justice (2013) Story of the prison population: 1993 2012 England and Wales, London: Ministry of Justice
374 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
375 Table 3.3, Ibid. and Table 3.3, Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender
Management Statistics Quarterly January to March 2013, London:
Ministry of Justice
376 Table A3.5, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
377 Ministry of Justice (2014) Population and Capacity Briefing for 10
October 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
378 Table A3.6, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
In 2009, 3,996 people were received into prison
in England and Wales for breach of a community
sentence.379 Data on the number of people in
prison who have been breached is not routinely
published.
Under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act
2003, the time served under licence increased
markedly. Those serving long sentences are
under supervision for the whole sentence,
instead of until the three-quarters point. People
serving a life sentence remain under supervision
on release from prison for the rest of their natural
life, and may be recalled to prison at any time
to continue serving their life sentence if it is
considered necessary to protect the public. People
serving an IPP sentence can apply to the Parole
Board to have their licence cancelled after 10 years
(and if unsuccessful at yearly intervals thereafter).380
On 9 May 2013 the Justice Secretary announced
plans for all prisoners leaving custody, having
served two days or more, to continue to serve a
minimum of 12 months under supervision in the
community. At present around 50,000 prisoners
serve sentences of less than 12 months and receive
no supervision after release.381
The government has estimated that 13,000
people a year will be recalled to custody as
a result of these changes in the Offender
Rehabilitation Act.382
The Ministry of Justice has estimated that
there could be a cost of around £25 million per
year associated with breach of licence and
supervision conditions for short sentenced
offenders. The Ministry of Justice has also
acknowledged that there may be an additional
burden to the police from extending supervision in
the community to offenders released from custodial
sentences of less than 12 months. This could cost
up to £5 million per year.383
379 Table 6.9, Ministry of Justice (2010) Offender Management
Caseload Statistics 2009, London: Ministry of Justice
380 Ministry of Justice website, accessed 14 August, available at
http://www.justice.gov.uk/offenders/types-of-offender/life
381 Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Rehabilitation Bill Impact
Assessment, London: Ministry of Justice
382 Ministry of Justice (2013) Updated Impact Assessment for the
Offender Rehabilitation Bill, London: Ministry of Justice
383 Ibid.
28
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Reoffending
Prison has a poor record for reducing
reoffending—45.2% of adults are reconvicted
within one year of being released. For those
serving sentences of less than 12 months this
increases to 57.5%, an increase of 3.2 percentage
points from 2000. For those who have served 11
or more previous custodial sentences, the rate of
reoffending rises to 68.7%.384
Figures for 2010 show that 45% of women
leaving prison are reconvicted within one year.
For those women who have served more than 11
previous custodial sentences, the reoffending rate
rises to 75%.385
58% of young people (18–20) released from
custody in the first quarter of 2008 reoffended
within a year.386
68.2% of children (10–17) released from custody
in the 12 months ending September 2012
reoffended within a year.387
Court ordered community sentences are more
effective (by nearly seven percentage points)
at reducing one-year proven reoffending rates
than custodial sentences of less than 12 months
for similar offenders. People discharged from
immediate custodial sentences also committed
more reoffences than matched offenders given a
community sentence.388
For 2010, almost a third of matched offenders
released from custody (31.4%) had reoffended
within two months of their release. In
comparison, less than a quarter (23.7%) of matched
offenders receiving a community sentence had reoffended within two months of their order starting, a
difference of 7.7 percentage points.389
Factors affecting reoffending390
41% of 1,435 newly sentenced prisoners
interviewed for the Surveying Prisoner Crime
Reduction study reported having observed
violence in the home as a child. These offenders
had a higher one-year reconviction rate than those
who did not (58% compared with 48%).391
40% of prisoners stated that support from their
family, and 36% that seeing their children, would
help them stop reoffending in the future.392
29% of offenders reported experiencing
emotional, sexual, or physical abuse as a child.
These offenders had a higher one-year reconviction
rate than those who did not (58% compared with
50%).
42% of prisoners had been expelled or
permanently excluded from school. 63% of
offenders who had been expelled or permanently
excluded from school were reconvicted for an
offence within a year, compared with 44% of
offenders who were not.
Over a third (37%) of prisoners surveyed
said that someone in their family (other than
themselves) had been found guilty of a nonmotoring criminal offence. Of these convicted
family members, 84% had been in prison, a young
offenders institution or borstal. 59% of offenders
with a family member convicted of a non-motoring
criminal offence were reconvicted within a year after
release compared with 48% who did not have a
convicted family member.
Just over half (53%) of the sample reported
having at least one qualification. 60% of those
with no qualifications were reconvicted within a year
of leaving prison compared with 45% of those with
qualifications.
51% of prisoners had been in employment in
the year before custody. 40% of offenders who
were in employment in the year before prison
were reconvicted within a year of leaving prison
compared with 65% of those who had not been in
employment.
384 Table 19a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Proven re-offending statistics
quarterly, April 2011 to March 2012, London: Ministry of Justice, and
Table 7a, Ministry of Justice (2013) Proven re-offending statistics
quarterly January 2011 - December 2011, London: Ministry of Justice
385 Tables S5.26 and S5.28, Ministry of Justice (2012) Statistics on
Women and the Criminal Justice System 2011, London: Ministry of
Justice
386 Hansard HC, 17 January 2011, c653W
387 Table 18b, Ministry of Justice (2014) Proven re-offending quarterly,
October 2011 - September 2012, London: Ministry of Justice
388 Ministry of Justice (2013) 2013 Compendium of re-offending
statistics and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
389 Ibid.
390 Unless otherwise stated, statistics in this section are taken from
Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics,
London: Ministry of Justice
391 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds: Results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction
(SPCR) longitudinal cohort study of prisoners, London: Ministry of
Justice
392 Ibid.
29
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Almost two-thirds (64%) said they had claimed
benefits during the 12 months before they went
to prison. Those who reported having claimed
benefits were more likely to be reconvicted (58%
compared with 41%) than those who did not report
having claimed benefits.
15% of offenders were homeless prior to
custody. 79% of offenders who had been
homeless prior to custody were reconvicted within
a year compared with 47% of those who had
accommodation.
71% reported using drugs in the year before
custody and 64% reported using drugs in the
four weeks prior to custody.
The highest reconviction rate was observed for
the 33% of the sample who reported being polydrug users in the four weeks before custody. Of
these prisoners, 71% were reconvicted compared
with 48% of those who used Class B and/or C
drugs in the four weeks before custody.
22% of the sample drank alcohol every day in
the four weeks before custody. These prisoners
were more likely to be reconvicted compared with
those who did not drink every day in the four weeks
before custody (62% compared with 49%).
The majority of people (97%) expressed a
desire to stop offending. When asked which
factors would be important in stopping them
from reoffending in the future, most stressed the
importance of ‘having a job’ (68%) and ‘having a
place to live’ (60%).
Only 52% of prisoners who responded to
Prisons Inspectorate surveys thought they
had done something, or that something had
happened to them while in prison, that would
make them less likely to offend in future.393
393 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
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Social characteristics of adult prisoners
Characteristic
Prison population
General population
Taken into care as a child
24%
(31% for women, 24% for men)
2%
Experienced abuse as a child
29%
(53% for women, 27% for men)
20%
Observed violence in the
home as a child
41%
(50% for women, 40% for men)
14%
Regularly truant from school
59%
5.2% (England) and 4.8% (Wales)
Expelled or permanently excluded from school
42%
(32% for women, 43% for men)
In 2005 >1% of school pupils were
permanently excluded (England)
No qualifications
47%
15% of working age population
Unemployed in the four weeks 68%
before custody
(81% for women, 67% for men)
7.7% of the economically active
population are unemployed
Never had a job
13%
3.9%
Homeless before entering
custody
15%
4% have been homeless or in
temporary accommodation
Have children under the age
of 18
54%
Approximately 27% of the over 18
population*
Have symptoms indicative of
psychosis
16%
(25% for women, 15% for men)
4%
Identified as suffering from
both anxiety and depression
25%
(49% for women, 23% for men)
15%
Have attempted suicide at
some point
46% for women, 21% for men
6%
Have ever used Class A drugs 64%
13%
Drank alcohol every day in the
22%
four weeks before custody
16% of men and 10% of women
reported drinking on a daily basis
Prison population data taken from Results from the Ministry of Justice Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) survey published in:
Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice (2012) The pre-custody employment, training and education status of newly sentenced prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice (2012) Accommodation, homelessness and reoffending of prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice (2012) Estimating the prevalence of disability amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics, London: Ministry of Justice
General population data taken from:
Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
Harker, L. et al. (2013) How safe are our children, London: NSPCC
Department for Education (2013) Pupil absence in schools in England, including pupil characteristics, London: DfE
Welsh Government (2013) Absenteeism by Pupil Characteristics 2011/12, Cardiff: Welsh Government
Ministry of Justice (2012) The pre-custody employment, training and education status of newly sentenced prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
Office for National Statistics (2013) Labour Market Statistics, September 2013, London: ONS
Table KS611EW, Office for National Statistics (2012) 2011 Census, London: ONS
Ministry of Justice (2012) Accommodation, homelessness and reoffending of prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
Wiles, N. et al. (2006) Self-reported psychotic symptoms in the general population, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 188: 519-526
Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
*This figure has been extrapolated using data from Table 1, ONS (2013) Families and Households, 2012 and Table 1 (Reference Tables), ONS
(2013) Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - Mid 2012.
31
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Mothers and fathers in custody,
prisoners’ children
No-one routinely monitors the parental status
of prisoners in the UK or systematically
identifies children of prisoners, where they live
or which services they are accessing; where
this information is collected, it is patchy and not
always shared.
Approximately 200,000 children in England and
Wales had a parent in prison at some point in
2009.394 This is over three times the number of
children in care (65,565), and over five times the
number of children on the Child Protection Register
(36,610).395
In the same year, more than double the number
of children were affected by the imprisonment of
a parent than by divorce in the family.396
Over half (54%) of 1,435 newly sentenced
prisoners interviewed for the Surveying Prisoner
Crime Reduction study had children under the
age of 18 at the time they entered prison. 61%
of respondents reported being single. About threequarters of the whole sample (74%) strongly agreed
or agreed that they were close to their family. The
vast majority felt that they had let their family down
by being sent to prison (82%).401
Only 9% of children whose mothers are in prison
are cared for by their fathers in their mothers’
absence.402
At least a fifth of mothers are lone parents
before imprisonment, compared to around 9%
of the general population.403
It is estimated that more than 17,240 children
were separated from their mother in 2010 by
imprisonment.397
Black and ethnic minority women in prison are
particularly likely to be single mothers, as more
than half of black African and black Caribbean
families in the UK are headed by a lone parent,
compared with less than a quarter of white
families and just over a tenth of Asian families.404
Imprisonment carries costs to families and
wider society. The full cost per family over six
months, including the cost to agencies and the
cost of support provided by family and relatives, is
estimated to average £5,860.398
61% of women interviewed at HMP Styal had
partners; however a third of these partners were
currently also in prison. The same study showed
that children had been taken away from 70% of the
mothers, and that the remainder were with family.405
Prisoners’ families are vulnerable to financial
instability, poverty, debt and potential housing
disruption. It is estimated that the average personal
cost to relatives of a prisoner is £175 per month,
although these figures are only estimates and likely
to be higher.399
A 2014 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection report
confirmed the central importance of family and
friends in enabling successful rehabilitation.
Despite this, inspectors found no evidence that
families were involved in sentence planning, even
when a person said they were relying on them for
support after release.406
Prison governors receive no specific funding to
meet the costs of family support work, parenting
courses, family visitor centres or supervised
play areas. This means any family provision must
come from a governor’s already stretched and
shrinking general prison budget.400
394 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
395 Table A1, Department for Education (2012) Children looked after
by local authorities in England, London: Department for Education;
StatsWales website, https://statswales.wales.gov.uk/v/Lh2 accessed
on 18 October 2013; NSPCC child protection register statistics, http://
www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/statistics/child_protection_register_
statistics_wda48723.html
396 Office for National Statistics (2011) Divorces in England and Wales
2009, Fareham: Office for National Statistics
397 Wilks-Wiffen, S. (2011) Voice of a Child, London: Howard League
for Penal Reform
398 Smith, R et al. (2007) Poverty and disadvantage among prisoners’
families, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
399 Ibid.
400 Centre for Social Justice (2009) Locked up potential: A strategy
for reforming prisons and rehabilitating prisoners, London: Centre for
Social Justice
Only half of the women who had lived, or were in
contact with, their children prior to imprisonment
had received a visit since going to prison.407
Maintaining contact with children is made more
difficult by the distance that many prisoners are
held from their home area; in 2009 the average
distance for men was 50 miles.408
401 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
402 Baroness Corston (2007) A Review of Women with Particular
Vulnerabilities in the Criminal Justice System, London: Home Office
403 Social Exclusion Unit (2002) Reducing reoffending by ex-prisoners,
London: Social Exclusion Unit
404 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2009) Race relations in
prisons: responding to adult women from black and minority ethnic
backgrounds, London: The Stationery Office
405 Hamilton, S. and Fitzpatrick, R. (2006) Working with Complexity:
Meeting the Resettlement Needs of Women at HMP Styal, London:
Revolving Doors Agency
406 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2014) Resettlement provision
for adult offenders: Accommodation and education, training and
employment, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
407 Social Exclusion Unit (2002) Reducing reoffending by ex-prisoners,
London: Social Exclusion Unit
408 Hansard HC, 7 January 2010, c548W
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The average distance adult women in prison are
held from their home or committal court address
is 60 miles.409 In Send women’s prison the average
is 76 miles, Askham Grange the average distance
from home is 78 miles, for Drake Hall it is 83 miles,
East Sutton Park 91 miles.410 In Eastwood Park
prison, where many of the women sent to prison by
courts in Wales are sent, 20% of women are over
150 miles from home.411
One Home Office study showed that for 85% of
mothers, prison was the first time they had been
separated from their children for any significant
length of time. It also showed that 65% of mothers in
prison were serving their first custodial sentence.412
An ICM public opinion poll, commissioned by
SmartJustice in March 2007, found that, of 1,006
respondents across the UK, 73% thought that
mothers of young children should not be sent to
prison for non-violent crime.413
Imprisoning mothers for non-violent offences
has a damaging impact on children and carries
a cost to the state of more than £17 million over
a 10 year period. The main social cost incurred by
the children of imprisoned mothers—and by the
state—results from the increased likelihood of them
becoming ‘NEET’ (Not in Education, Employment or
Training).414
The average number of women in prison with
babies on a Mother and Baby Unit from June
2010 to May 2012 was 49.419
Women with babies in prison may be unable to
claim benefits for their children.420
19% of prisoners between 18–20 years old
interviewed for the Surveying Prisoner Crime
Reduction study stated that they had children
under 18 years old. This compares to 4% of the
general population who are young fathers.421
According to a Prisons Inspectorate and Youth
Justice Board survey, 10% of boys and 9% of
girls, aged between 15 and 18 years old had
children themselves.422
A government review of the children of offenders
carried out in 2007 stated that “children of
offenders are an ‘invisible’ group: there is no
shared, robust information on who they are, little
awareness of their needs and no systematic
support.”423
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons found “a greater
awareness in women’s prisons of the need
to ask about care for dependants, but little
awareness in men’s prisons that men may have
similar concerns.”424
Adult children of imprisoned mothers are more
likely to be convicted of an offence than adult
children from imprisoned fathers.415
35% of men and 28% of women described
themselves as living with a partner before
entering custody.425
Between April 2005 and December 2008, 382
children were born to women prisoners. This is a
rate of almost two births a week in England and
Wales.416 However, information on the number of
women who have given birth in prison is no longer
collected centrally.417
Prisoners’ families, including their children,
often experience increased financial, housing,
emotional and health problems during a
sentence.426
Between April 2006 and March 2009, seven
girls aged 16 and 17 years old in secure training
centres and one in a secure children’s home
gave birth.418
409 Women in Prison (2013) State of the Estate: Women in Prison’s
report on the women’s custodial estate 2011-12, London: WiP
410 Ministry of Justice, Freedom of Information request
75412, available at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.
uk/20120705035936/http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/informationaccess-rights/foi-disclosure-log/prison-probation/foi-75412-data.xls
411 HMP/YOI Eastwood Park Independent Monitoring Board (2011)
Annual Report 2010-11, Ministry of Justice: London
412 Home Office Research Study 162 (1997) Imprisoned Women and
Mothers, Home Office: London
413 SmartJustice (2007) Public say: stop locking up so many women,
London: Prison Reform Trust
414 new economic foundation (2008) Unlocking value: How we all
benefit from investing in alternatives to prison for women offenders,
London: new economics foundation
415 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
416 Hansard HC, 26 January 2009, c202W
417 Hansard HC, 10 May 2011, c1072W
418 Hansard HC, 29 April 2009, c1332W
Parental imprisonment approximately trebles
the risk for antisocial/delinquent behaviour of
children.427
419 Hansard HC, 5 July 2012, c790W
420 Citizens Advice (2007) Locked Out, CAB evidence on prisoners
and ex-offenders, London: Citizens Advice Bureau
421 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
422 Parke, S. (2009) HM Inspector of Prisons and Youth Justice Board,
Children and Young People in Custody 2006-2008, an analysis of the
experiences of 15-18-year-olds in prison, London: The Stationery Office
423 Ministry of Justice and Department for Children, Schools and
Families (2007) Children of Offenders Review, London: MoJ
424 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2010) Annual Report 2008-09,
London: The Stationery Office
425 Stewart, D. (2008) The problems and needs of newly sentenced
prisoners: results from a national survey, London: Ministry of Justice
426 Social Exclusion Unit (2002) Reducing reoffending by ex-prisoners,
London: Social Exclusion Unit
427 Murray, J., & Farrington, D. P. (2008) ‘The effects of parental
imprisonment on children’. In M. Tonry (Ed.), Crime and justice: A
review of research (Vol. 37, pp. 133-206). Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
33
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Over a third (37%) of prisoners interviewed for
the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction study
said that someone in their family (other than
themselves) had been found guilty of a nonmotoring criminal offence. Of these convicted
family members, 84% had been in prison, a young
offender institution or borstal.428
15% of prisoners stated that they needed
help concerning problems related to family or
children, with 8% requiring a lot of help. Women
(27%) were more likely than men (13%) to report
being in need of help with a problem concerning
family or children.429
Research indicates that the odds of reoffending
were 39% higher for prisoners who had not
received visits whilst in prison compared to
those who had.430
40% of prisoners interviewed for the Surveying
Prisoner Crime Reduction study stated that
support from their family, and 36% that seeing
their children, would help them stop reoffending
in the future. Women (51%) were more likely than
men (39%) to say that getting support from their
family would help them stop reoffending.431
A recent study demonstrated the importance of
frequent contact between imprisoned fathers
and their families during imprisonment.432
Two-thirds (69%) of boys said they could use the
telephone every day, however only a third (34%)
said it was easy or very easy for friends and
family to visit them, down from 42% the year
before.433
79% of young men reported that they had visits
from family and friends. This was a significant
decline from nearly all the young men (97%)
surveyed in 2011–12.434
A minority of under 18 year olds in custody, 37%
of boys and 44% of girls, usually had one or
more visits per week from family or friends.435
428 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
429 Ibid.
430 May, C. et al. (2008) Factors linked to reoffending: a one-year
follow-up of prisoners who took part in the Resettlement Surveys 2001,
2003 and 2004, London: Ministry of Justice
431 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
432 Losel, F. et al. (2012) Risk and protective factors in the
resettlement of imprisoned fathers with their families, Cambridge:
University of Cambridge and Ormiston
433 Kennedy, E (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 201213, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
434 Ibid.
435 Ibid.
The experiences of Muslim young men were
less positive. Only 27% reported that it was easy
or very easy for family or friends to visit, compared
with 36% of non-Muslims, or that visits started on
time (36% compared with 48%).436
Fewer black and minority ethnic than white boys
said that it was easy or very easy for their family
and friends to visit them (29% compared with
37%). They were also more negative about the
timeliness of visits.437
Black, minority ethnic and foreign national
women were more likely to report that they had
not had a visit within their first week in prison
compared with white and British women.438
In 2008–09 closed visiting conditions were
imposed on 1,817 occasions.439 Closed visits
are imposed when there is a risk drugs may be
smuggled through visits. The number of closed
visits is no longer centrally recorded.440
Approximately 30% of prisoners who take their
own lives had no family contact prior to their
deaths.441
The HM Chief Inspector of Prisons 2010 annual
report noted more children and family days in 40
prisons as opposed to only 27 the year before.
The Inspectorate has “learnt with concern that
family days in some prisons (including women’s
prisons) may be among the victims of budget
cuts.”442
The number of visitors arrested or apprehended
who have been suspected of smuggling drugs
into prisons fell by 35% from 472 in 2008–09 to
282 in 2010–11.443
HM Inspectorate of Prisons has found that an
average of 40% of prisoners reported difficulties
with sending or receiving mail, and around
a quarter of prisoners reported difficulty in
accessing telephones. Alterations to prison
regimes have reduced the opportunity for prisoners
to use the telephone. The inspectorate found
instances where unemployed prisoners were not
allowed to use the telephone in the evening and
so were unable to contact children and working
relatives and friends.444
436 Ibid.
437 Ibid.
438 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2009) Race relations in
prisons: responding to adult women from black and minority ethnic
backgrounds, London: The Stationery Office
439 Hansard HC, 22 March 2010, c21W
440 Hansard HC, 24 March 2014, c102W
441 NOMS, Safer Custody News, January/February 2010
442 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2010) Annual Report 2008-09,
London: The Stationery Office
443 Hansard HC, 3 May 2011, c628W
444 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2011) Annual Report 2010-11,
34
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Women in prison
The women’s prison population in England and
Wales more than doubled between 1995 and
2010, from 1,979 to 4,236.445 More recently the
numbers have declined a little—with 3,929 women
in prison in June 2014. However this is a 2% rise on
the previous year.446
The rise in the female prison population over
the last 15 years can partly be explained by an
increase in the severity of sentences. In 1996,
10% of women sentenced for an indictable offence
were sent to prison; in 2013, 15% were.447
A total of 9,176 women were received into
custody in the 12 months to March 2014, a fall of
3% on the previous year.448
In 2013, the government announced plans to
re-role HMP Downview to house male prisoners.
All women have now been transferred from the
prison, bringing the total number of women’s
prisons to 12.449
London: The Stationery Office
445 Table A1.2, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
446 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
447 Table A5.9, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
Quarterly to December 2013, London: Ministry of Justice and Table 1.8,
Ministry of Justice (2007) Sentencing Statistics 2006, London: Ministry
of Justice
448 Table 2.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014 and Table 2.1c, Ministry of
Justice (2013) Offender Management Statistics (quarterly), January to
March 2013
449 Robinson, C. (2013) Women’s Custodial Estate Review, London:
National Offender Management Service
In October 2013, the Women’s Custodial Estate
Review was published, “signalling a new way
of working for women’s prisons”. It proposed
reducing capacity by 401 places (equivalent to
9%). The re-roling of HMP Downview will contribute
to this target, but it also foresees the closure of
HMPs Askham Grange and Eastwood Park, the
only open prisons for women.450
Women represent 4.6% of the overall prison
population, compared to a high of 6.1% in
2003.451 However, these figures need to be viewed
in the context of the rapid increase in the male
prison population over the same period of time.
In the 12 months ending March 2014, women
accounted for 9% of prison receptions.452 Since
their average length of sentence is shorter than
that of men, both from magistrates’ courts and the
Crown Court, their turnover is higher.453
Most women entering prison serve very short
sentences. In the 12 months to March 2014, 60%
of sentenced women (4,113) entering prison were
serving six months or less.454 In 1993 only a third
of women entering custody were sentenced to six
months or less.455
450 Ibid.
451 Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
452 Table 2.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly) October to December 2013, London: Ministry of
Justice
453 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2011) Equal but Different? An
inspection of the use of alternatives to custody for women offenders, A
Joint Inspection by HMI Probation, HMCPSI and HMI Prisons, London:
Criminal Justice Joint Inspection
454 Table 2.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
455 Hedderman, C. (2012) Empty cells or empty words, government
policy on reducing the number of women going to prison, London:
Criminal Justice Alliance
35
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
In 2012, 4,991 women were received into prison
to serve sentences of six months or less. The
majority (2,458) were sentenced to three months
or less—22 women had been given the shortest
possible sentence (10 days or less).456
1,052 women entered prison in 2009 for
breaching a court order. This represents 13% of
all women who entered prison under an immediate
custodial sentence.457 In many of these cases, the
original offence or behaviour would have been
unlikely to have resulted in a custodial sentence.458
On 30 June 2014 there were 694 women in
prison on remand.459 In the 12 months to March
2014, there were 3,790 women remanded to
custody to await trial, 159 more than the previous
year.460 These women spend an average of four to
six weeks in prison.461
Less than half of women remanded by
magistrates’ courts and subsequently found
guilty (700 of 1,600) are given a prison sentence.
70% of women remanded into custody received an
immediate custodial sentence at the Crown Court,
compared to 83% of men.462
40% of women entering custody under sentence
in 2013 were there for theft and handling stolen
goods, compared with 22% of men. More women
were received into prison under an immediate
custodial sentence for theft and handling than
for violence against the person, robbery, sexual
offences, burglary, fraud and forgery, drugs, and
motoring offences combined.463
A survey of prisoners found that nearly half of all
women (48%), compared to just over one-fifth of
men (22%), reported having committed offences
to support someone else’s drug use.466
26% of all women in prison and 28% of women
serving sentences of under 12 months had
no previous convictions, compared to 12% of
men.467
Between 2009–2013 the number of women
sentenced for theft from a shop decreased by
4% whilst the number sentenced to custody
increased by 17%.468
Theft from a shop accounted for more than a
third (35%) of all custodial sentences given to
women. Most received sentences of three months
or less, with an average of 1.9 months.469
Currently 13% of women in prison, 518, are
foreign nationals.470 Some are known to have
been coerced or trafficked into offending.471
There are 77 different nationalities amongst the
foreign national women currently in prison, with
the majority from Romania, Nigeria, Republic of
Ireland, Poland and Jamaica.472
Figures for 2010 show that 45% of women
leaving prison are reconvicted within one year.
For those women who have served more than
11 previous custodial sentences, the reoffending
rate rises to 75%.473
On 30 June 2014 there were 525 women in
prison serving a sentence for theft and handling
offences—an increase of 13% on the previous
year, compared with a 5% decrease for men.464
A Cabinet Office study found that 28% of
women’s crimes were financially motivated,
compared to 20% of men’s.465
456 Ministry of Justice Freedom of Information number 82495, May
2013
457 Table 6.9, Ministry of Justice (2010) Offender Management
Caseload Statistics 2009, London: Ministry of Justice
458 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2011) Equal but Different? An
inspection of the use of alternatives to custody for women offenders, A
Joint Inspection by HMI Probation, HMCPSI and HMI Prisons, London:
Criminal Justice Joint Inspection
459 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
460 Table 2.1, Ibid.
461 Department of Health (2009) The Bradley Report, Lord Bradley’s
review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in
the criminal justice system, London: Department of Health
462 Tables S4.61, S4.62 and S4.63 Ministry of Justice (2012) Statistics
on Women and the Criminal Justice System 2011, London: Ministry of
Justice
463 Table A2.2b, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
464 Table 1.2b, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
465 Cabinet Office Social Exclusion Task Force (2009) Short Study
on Women Offenders, London: Cabinet Office. Note: evidence from
analysis of Offender Assessment System data
466 Light, M. et al. (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse and
mental health amongst prisoners – Results from the Surveying Prisoner
Crime Reduction (SPCR) longitudinal cohort study of prisoners,
London: Ministry of Justice
467 Tables A1.28 and A1.29, Ministry of Justice (2012) Offender
Management Caseload Statistics 2011, London: Ministry of Justice
468 Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice System outcomes by
offence 2009-2013: part of Criminal Justice Statistics 2013, London:
Ministry of Justice
469 Ibid.
470 Table 1.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
471 Hales, L. and Gelsthorpe, L. (2012) The criminalisation of migrant
women, Cambridge: University of Cambridge
472 Table 1.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
473 Table S5.28 Ministry of Justice (2012) Women and the Criminal
Justice System, London: Ministry of Justice
36
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
The average distance adult women in prison are
held from their home or committal court address
is 60 miles.474 In Send women’s prison the average
is 76 miles, Askham Grange the average distance
from home is 78 miles, for Drake Hall it is 83 miles,
East Sutton Park 91 miles.475 In Eastwood Park
prison, where many of the women sent to prison by
courts in Wales are sent, 20% of women are over
150 miles from home.476
It is estimated that more than 17,240 children
were separated from their mother in 2010 by
imprisonment.477
A University of Oxford report on the health of
500 women prisoners showed that women
in custody are five times more likely to have
a mental health concern than women in the
general population, with 78% exhibiting some
level of psychological disturbance when measured
on reception to prison, compared with a figure of
15% for the general adult female population.478
Researchers also found that women entering
prison had very poor physical, psychological and
social health, worse than that of women in social
class V, the group within the general population
who have the poorest health.479
474 Women in Prison (2013) State of the Estate: Women in Prison’s
report on the women’s custodial estate 2011-12, London: WiP
475 Ministry of Justice, Freedom of Information request
75412, available at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.
uk/20120705035936/http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/informationaccess-rights/foi-disclosure-log/prison-probation/foi-75412-data.xls
476 HMP/YOI Eastwood Park Independent Monitoring Board (2011)
Annual Report 2010-11, Ministry of Justice: London
477 Wilks-Wiffen, S. (2011) Voice of a Child, London: Howard League
for Penal Reform
478 Plugge, E. et al. (2006) The Health of Women in Prison, Oxford:
Department of Public Health, University of Oxford
479 Ibid.
52% of women surveyed said that they had
used heroin, crack, or cocaine powder in the
four weeks prior to custody, compared to 40%
of men. However, practitioners report that women
may hide or underplay substance misuse through
fear of losing their children.480
More than half (59%) of women in prison who
drank in the four weeks before custody thought
they had a problem with alcohol. 52% thought
their drinking was out of control, and 41% wished
they could stop.481
46% of women in prison have attempted suicide
at some point in their lifetime.482
There were 94 self-inflicted deaths of women
prisoners between 1990 and 2012.483
Women account for 28% of all incidents of selfharm despite representing just 5% of the total
prison population. The rates of women harming
themselves continue to be much higher than for
men but the gap has reduced in recent years.484
In January 2008, nearly 80% of female prisoners
serving Indeterminate Sentences for Public
Protection (IPP) surveyed by the Prisons
Inspectorate were for offences of arson, which
is often an indicator of serious mental illness or
self-harm.485
480 Stewart, D. (2008) The problems and needs of newly sentenced
prisoners: results from a national survey, London: Ministry of Justice
481 Tables A28, A24 and A27, Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender
differences in substance misuse and mental health amongst prisoners,
London: Ministry of Justice
482 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
483 Table 1.2, Ministry of Justice (2013) Safety in Custody Statistics
England and Wales, Update to March 2013
484 Table 2.1, Ministry of Justice (2013) Safety in Custody Statistics
England and Wales, Update to March 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
and Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Management
Caseload Statistics 2012, London: Ministry of Justice
485 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and HM Chief Inspector of
37
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
As of 30 June 2014 there were 95 women in
prison serving IPP sentences, just over 2% of the
total IPP population.486
31% of women interviewed for the Surveying
Prisoner Crime Reduction study reported having
spent time in local authority care. This compares
to 24% of men in prison.487
53% of women reported having experienced
emotional, physical or sexual abuse as a child,
compared to 27% of men in prison.488
46% of women in prison report having suffered a
history of domestic abuse.489
Women prisoners are subject to higher rates of
disciplinary proceedings than men. In 2012 there
were 124 proven offences punished per 100 women
in prison compared to 99 per 100 men.490 According
to the Ministry of Justice, “women may be less
able (due for example to mental health issues) to
conform to prison rules.”491
32% of women in prison at the end of June 2014
were aged 40 and over.492
Around one-third of women prisoners lose their
homes, and often their possessions, whilst in
prison.493
Women prisoners are often inadequately
prepared for release. In 2011–12, just 8.4% of
women leaving prison had a positive resettlement
outcome on employment. For men the proportion
was 27.3%.494
A Prisons Inspectorate survey found that 38% of
women in prison did not have accommodation
arranged on release.495 Only a third of women
prisoners who wanted help and advice about
benefits and debt received it.496
Probation (2008) The indeterminate sentence for public protection: A
thematic review, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
486 Table A1.12, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
487 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
488 Ibid.
489 Baroness Corston (2007) A Review of Women with Particular
Vulnerabilities in the Criminal Justice System, London: Home Office
490 Table A5.2, Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Management
Caseload Statistics 2012, London: Ministry of Justice
491 Ministry of Justice (2010) Statistics on Women and the Criminal
Justice System, London: Ministry of Justice
492 Table A1.5 Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics
Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
493 Wedderburn, D. (2000) Justice for Women: The Need for Reform,
London: Prison Reform Trust
494 Table 2b (offenders data), Ministry of Justice (2012) NOMS
Equalities Annual Report, London: Ministry of Justice
495 HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Probation
(2001) Through the Prison Gate, London: Home Office
496 Ibid.
In 2011 a higher proportion of women than
men completed their community sentence
successfully or had their sentences terminated
for good progress on both community orders
(70%) and suspended sentence orders (76%)
versus 65% and 67% respectively for men.497
In March 2007, the Corston review of vulnerable
women in the criminal justice system,
commissioned following the deaths of six
women at Styal prison, stated: “Community
solutions for non-violent women offenders
should be the norm.” The report concluded that
“there must be a strong consistent message right
from the top of government, with full reasons given,
in support of its stated policy that prison is not the
right place for women offenders who pose no risk
to the public.”498
A 2010 ICM poll showed that 80% of 1,000 adults
surveyed strongly agreed that local women’s
centres, where women address the root causes
of their crime and do compulsory work in the
community, should be available.499 A YouGov poll
in November 2012 found strong support for public
health measures to tackle women’s offending, with
treatment for drug addiction considered the most
effective at reducing the risk of reoffending by
nearly seven in 10 (69%) respondents.500
The new economics foundation has found that
for every pound invested in support-focused
alternatives to prison, £14 worth of social value
is generated to women and their children,
victims and society generally over 10 years.501
If alternatives to prison were to achieve an
additional reduction of just 6% in reoffending,
the state would recoup the investment required
to achieve this in just one year.502 The long-run
value of these benefits is in excess of £100 million
over 10 years.503
On 21 December 2010 the UN General Assembly
approved the UN Rules for the Treatment of
Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures
for Women Offenders (known as the ‘Bangkok
Rules’).504 The Rules guide signatory states to
497 Table A4.23, Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Management
Caseload Statistics 2012, London: Ministry of Justice
498 Corston, J. (2007) The Corston Report, London: Home Office
499 ICM Opinion Poll for the Corston Coalition, (26-28 November
2010). Sample of 1000 adults 18+ in GB, by telephone omnibus
500 Prison Reform Trust (2012) Public say top three solutions to
women’s offending lie in health not criminal justice – press release 26
November 2012, London: Prison Reform Trust
501 new economics foundation (2008) Unlocking value: How we all
benefit from investing in alternatives to prison for women offenders,
London: new economics foundation
502 Ibid.
503 Ibid.
504 Penal Reform International (2011) Briefing on the UN rules for the
treatment of women prisoners and non-custodial measures for women
offenders (‘Bangkok rules’), London: Penal Reform International
38
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
adopt gender-sensitive prisoner classification
and security risk assessments, gender-specific
healthcare services, treatment of children living
with their mothers in prison, the particular safety
concerns of women prisoners, and the development
of pre and post-release programmes that take into
account the stigmatisation and discrimination that
women face once released from prison.505
HM Inspectorate of Prisons has published
their specific expectations for the inspection
of women’s prisons for the first time. These
spell out the outcomes they expect for women
in prison. Until their publication, the Inspectorate
used a generic set of expectations for all adult
prisons, with limited reference to women.506
In July 2011 the report of the Women’s Justice
Taskforce recommended a cross-government
strategy to be developed to divert women
from crime and reduce the women’s prison
population, with a designated minister to
take responsibility for implementation and
accountability for the strategy to be built into
relevant roles within government departments
and local authorities.507
In March 2013, the Government published its
Strategic Objectives for Female Offenders and
established an Advisory Board to advise on
implementation.508 An update was published a
year later, setting out progress, including how the
Transforming Rehabilitation programme will help
women.509
Following sustained support from the Prison
Reform Trust and women’s organisations
including the Soroptimists, National Council of
Women and others, the Government introduced
Section 10 of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014
to ensure that contracts with providers delivered
as part of Transforming Rehabilitation identify any
specific provisions which are intended to meet
the particular needs of female offenders.510
In December 2011 the Soroptimist International
UK Programme Action Committee took the
decision to mount a campaign in partnership
with the Prison Reform Trust to reduce women’s
imprisonment. The Soroptimists are working with
local authorities, police, probation, magistrates
and crown courts, and voluntary groups across
the UK to gather information on effective options
for women in trouble with the law and press for
reform.511
Social characteristics of male and female prisoners
Characteristic
Men
Women
Committed their offence in order to
support the drug use of someone else
22%
48%
Have experienced emotional, physical or
sexual abuse
27%
53%
Serving a prison sentence for a non-violent
offence
71%
81%
Have no previous convictions
12%
26%
Have spent time in local authority care
24%
31%
Have symptoms indicative of psychosis
15%
25%
Have attempted suicide at some point
21%
46%
Sources:
Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
Table 2.2b, Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Management Statistics (quarterly) January to March 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
Tables A1.28 and A1.29, Ministry of Justice (2012) Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2011, London: Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
Ibid.
505 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/gashc3980.doc.htm
506 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2014) Expectations - Criteria for
assessing the treatment of and conditions for women in prison,
London: HMIP
507 Prison Reform Trust (2011) Reforming Women’s Justice, Final
report of the Women’s Justice Taskforce, London: Prison Reform Trust
508 Ministry of Justice (2013) Strategic Objectives for Female
Offenders, London: Ministry of Justice
509 Ministry of Justice (2014) Update on delivery of the Government’s
strategic objectives for female offenders, London: Ministry of Justice
510 Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014, Section 10
511 http://www.soroptimist-ukpac.org/
39
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Minority ethnic prisoners
On 30 June 2014, 26% of the prison population,
21,937 people, was from a minority ethnic
group.512 This compares to around one in 10 of the
general population.513
Of the British national prison population, 10%
are black and 6% are Asian.514 For black Britons
this is significantly higher than the 2.8% of the
general population they represent.515
Overall, black prisoners account for the largest
number of minority ethnic prisoners (49%).516
At the end of June 2014, 28% of minority ethnic
prisoners were foreign nationals.517
According to the Equality and Human Rights
Commission, there is greater disproportionality
in the number of black people in prisons in the
UK than in the United States.518
The number of Muslim prisoners has more than
doubled over the past 12 years. In 2002 there
were 5,502 Muslims in prison, but by 2014 this had
risen to 12,106.519
Muslims in prison are far from being a
homogeneous group. Some were born into Muslim
families, and others have converted. In 2013, 41%
were Asian, 31% were black, 14% were white and
8% were mixed.520
Analysis by HM Inspectorate of Prisons found
that fewer than one per cent of Muslims in prison
were there for terrorism related offences.521
A higher proportion of people in BAME groups
were sentenced to immediate custody for
indictable offences than white people. In the
12 months to March 2014, 28% of black people
sentenced at court were given custody, compared
with 30% for Asian and 42% for ‘other’. 27% of
sentences for white people were custodial.522 This
512 Table A1.7, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
513 Table A3.5.2, Equality and Human Rights Commission (2010) How
fair is Britain? Equality, Human Rights and Good Relations in 2010,
London: Equality and Human Rights Commission
514 Table A1.7, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
515 Table 4, Office for National Statistics (2011) Population Estimates
by Ethnic Group 2002 – 2009, London: Office for National Statistics
516 Table A1.7, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
517 Ibid.
518 Equality and Human Rights Commission (2010) How fair is Britain?
London: Equality and Human Rights Commission
519 Table A1.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
520 Table A1.12, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
521 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2010) Muslim prisoners’
experiences: a thematic review, London: HMIP
522 Table Q5.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Criminal Justice Statistics
may in part be due to differences in plea between
ethnic groups.
In the 12 months to March 2014, the highest
average custodial sentence length for those
given determinate sentences for indictable
offences was recorded for the ‘other’ group, at
24.6 months. This was followed by the Black and
Asian groups with averages of 22.9 months and
21.7 months respectively. The lowest was recorded
for the white group at 16.5 months.523
At the end of June 2013, 29% of mixed, 28%
of white, 28% of black, 27% of Asian and 24%
of ‘Chinese or other’ prisoners were serving a
sentence for offences of violence against the
person. 28% of ‘Chinese or other’, 27% of Asian,
23% of black, 18% of mixed, and 11% of white
prisoners were serving sentences for drug offences.524
Prisoners from minority groups, such as those
from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and
Muslim prisoners, almost always reported much
more negatively than the main population about
their experience in prison and their relationships
with staff. Both responded more negatively in
over two-thirds (67%) of the Inspectorate’s survey
questions than white and non-Muslim prisoners.525
While 70% of white young adults in prison said
that staff treated them with respect, this was
true of 55% of black young adult prisoners and
45% of young adult Asian prisoners.526 This was
also reflected more generally across the prison
estate, with 71% of BME prisoners saying that staff
treated them with respect, compared with 79% of
white prisoners.527
Black women also reported more negatively,
with only 60% saying that staff treated them with
respect, compared with 75% of white women.528
Black and minority ethnic prisoners still have
more negative perceptions of the fairness and
effectiveness of complaints systems. 28% who said
that they had made a complaint felt they were dealt
with fairly compared with 41% of white prisoners,
and 22% reported being prevented from making a
complaint, compared with 15% of white prisoners.529
Quarterly, March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
523 Ibid.
524 Table A1.9, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
525 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
526 Table 4, HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2014) Report of a review of
the implementation of the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry recommendations,
London: HMIP
527 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012–13,
London: The Stationery Office
528 Table 4, HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2014) Report of a review of
the implementation of the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry recommendations,
London: HMIP
529 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2014) Report of a review of the
implementation of the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry recommendations,
40
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
HM Inspectorate of Prisons found that outcomes
for black and minority ethnic prisoners were
often poorer, particularly in the application of
disciplinary procedures and, in open prisons, in
access to release on temporary licence.530
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has said that
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller prisoners are a
significant but often unrecognised minority in
many prisons.537
Black and minority ethnic respondents to the
Inspectorate’s survey were less likely than white
prisoners to report having at least 10 hours a
day out of their cell and less likely to be working,
but more likely to use the library and the gym.531
Prison Inspectorate surveys conducted in
2012–2013 found that 5% of prisoners said they
considered themselves to be Gypsy, Romany
or Traveller.538 However, “there is evidence of a
possible reluctance by many Gypsy, Romany or
Traveller prisoners to identify themselves as such.”539
Black and mixed ethnicity offenders are subject to
higher rates of adjudications than average. In 2012
black prisoners were subject to 122 adjudications
per 100 prisoners, and mixed ethnicity prisoners
161 adjudications. This compares to an average of
100 adjudications per 100 prisoners.532
A study of Irish Travellers in prison found that
Irish Travellers represent between 0.6% and
1% of the entire prison population and between
2.5% and 4% of the minority ethnic population
in prison. The survey report notes that this number
“must be seen as a minimum.”540
For every 100 prisoners, there were on average
131 days in segregation for good order and
discipline. Rates were higher for men than women;
higher than average for black, black British, and
mixed ethnicity prisoners; and lower than average for
prisoners from the Chinese or other ethnic group.533
The population of Irish Travellers in England is
estimated to be between 55,000 and 123,000,
accounting for between 0.1-0.2% of the
population.541
Population in prison by self-identified ethnicity,
30 June 2014
For every 100 proven adjudications, there were
on average 78 days of cellular confinement.
Rates were higher for men than women, higher than
average for those in the black or black British ethnic
group and lower than average for prisoners in the
Chinese or other, Asian or Asian British and mixed
ethnic groups.534
Survey findings by HM Inspectorate of Prisons
indicate that prisoners from a black or minority
ethnic background, Muslim prisoners and those
under the age of 21 are more likely to report
having spent time in the segregation or care and
separation unit in the last six months.535
Research undertaken by the Prison Reform Trust
found that 49 of 71 prisoners interviewed said
that they had experienced racism in the previous
six months in the prison. Almost two-thirds of
those prisoners said that they did not submit a
complaint about it.536
London: HMIP
530 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
531 Ibid.
532 National Offender Management Service (2013) Offender Equalities
Annual Report 2012-13, London: Ministry of Justice
533 Ministry of Justice (2012) NOMS Equalities Annual Report
2011/12, London: Ministry of Justice
534 Ibid.
535 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
536 Edgar, K. (2010) A Fair Response: developing responses to
racist incidents that earn the confidence of black and minority ethnic
prisoners, London: Prison Reform Trust
537 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012–13,
London: The Stationery Office
538 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2014) People in prison: Gypsies,
Romany and Travellers, London: HMIP
539 Department for Communities and Local Government (2012),
Progress report by the ministerial working group on tackling inequalities
experienced by Gypsies and Travellers, London: DCLG
540 Conn MacGabhann (2011) Voices Unheard: A study of Irish
travellers in prison, London: Irish Chaplaincy in Britain
541 Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (2013) Gypsy and Traveller
population in England and the 2011 Census, London: ITMB and Office
for National Statistics (2013) Annual Mid-year Population Estimates,
2011 and 2012, London: ONS
41
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Foreign national prisoners
The term ‘foreign national prisoner’
encompasses many different people. People may
have come to the UK as children with parents, or
are second generation: often from former colonies,
asylum seekers or people who have been given
indefinite leave to remain as refugee, European
and EEA nationals or Irish nationals, trafficked
persons or people who would be persecuted if they
returned to their county of origin, people who were
entering or leaving the UK, on false documents,
and were arrested at port of entry/exit, those who
have entered the UK illegally or were in the UK as
students, visitors or workers who have got involved
in the criminal justice system.
At the end of June 2014 there were 10,834
foreign national prisoners (defined as non-UK
passport holders) held in England and Wales,
13% of the overall prison population. There were
also 676 people in prison whose nationality was not
recorded.542
However, these figures include people who are
held administratively under Immigration Act
powers in Immigration Removal Centres and
who are not serving criminal sentences. If we
exclude Immigration Removal Centres then they
account for 12% of the prison population.543
These prisoners come from 157 countries,
but over half are from nine countries (Poland,
Ireland, Jamaica, Romania, Pakistan, Lithuania,
Nigeria, India and Somalia).544
The total number of foreign national prisoners
increased by 40% between 2002 and 2014. This
compares to an 18% increase in British nationals.545
Currently 13% of women in prison, 518, are
foreign nationals.546 Some of whom are known to
have been coerced or trafficked into offending.547
It is difficult to identify trafficked people in
prison. A report by the University of Cambridge
examined the case management of 103 migrant
women in the criminal justice and immigration
systems, including the identification of trafficked
women. In only one of the 43 cases of human
trafficking identified by the researchers did victim
disclosures result in a full police investigation.548
542 Table A1.7, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
543 Table A1.7 and A1.11, Ibid.
544 Table A1.10, Ibid.
545 Table A1.7, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
546 Ibid.
547 Hales, L. and Gelsthorpe, L. (2012) The criminalisation of migrant
women, Cambridge: University of Cambridge
548 Ibid.
The Modern Slavery Bill, currently before
Parliament, contains provisions that will
ensure a statutory defence for many offences
committed under duress as a result of being
trafficked or whilst under the control of a
trafficker.549
31% of foreign national women in prison
are serving a custodial sentence for drug
offences, compared to 12% of women of British
nationality. 19% of foreign national men are serving
a custodial sentence for drug offences, compared
with 14% of British men. The most common
offence for British men is violence against the
person at 28%.550
One in ten foreign national women serving
a sentence in prison is there for fraud and
forgery offences (usually possession of false
documents), and nearly one in three (31%) is
there as a result of drug offences.551
In 2011–12, 41% of women on the Hibiscus
Female Prisoners Welfare Project caseload
were charged with offences such as deception
and fraud, in relation to their immigration status
and related paperwork. The average sentences
for false documents were 8.5 months and for
deception 12 months.552
In eight prisons, foreign national prisoners made
up a quarter or more of the population in June
2014. Three prisons, HMPs Huntercombe, The
Verne and Maidstone hold almost entirely foreign
nationals in their population.553
Removal and deportation
As of 1 August 2008, with the introduction of
the UK Borders Act 2007, all foreign national
prisoners who have been sentenced to a
period of imprisonment of 12 months or more
are subject to automatic deportation from the
UK unless they fall within one of the Act’s six
exceptions.554
Over 4,600 foreign national offenders were
removed or deported in 2013. NOMS has said it
expects to see a significant increase in the number
549 Modern Slavery Bill 2014-15, available at http://services.
parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/modernslavery.html
550 Table A1.9, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
551 Table A1.9, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
552 Prison Reform Trust and Hibiscus (2012) No Way Out: a briefing
paper on foreign national women in prison in England and Wales,
London: Prison Reform Trust
553 Table 1.7, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
554 The Migration Observatory website migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/immigration-detention-uk,
accessed on 13 August 2013
42
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
of prisoners who are transferred in 2014–15. The
EU Prisoner Transfer Agreement and compulsory
transfer arrangements with Albania and with Nigeria
are expected to contribute to this.555
Immigration detainees
The average number of days taken to remove a
foreign national offender has increased year on
year from 143 days in 2010 to 187 in 2013.556
People who have served their sentence but are
not UK nationals can be held in prison after their
sentence has finished, released or moved to
an immigration detention centre. An inspection
of HMP Lincoln in 2012 found that one man had
been detained for nine years after the end of the
sentence.561
The United Kingdom has prisoner transfer
arrangements with over 100 countries and
territories.557 The majority of arrangements however
are voluntary agreements which require the consent
of both states involved, as well as that of the prisoner
concerned, before transfer can take place.558
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of
Offenders Act (2012) introduced a new Tariff
Expired Removal Scheme (TERS) for indeterminate
foreign national prisoners. The scheme allows
indeterminate foreign national prisoners, who are
confirmed by the United Kingdom Border Agency to
be liable to removal from the UK, to be removed from
prison and the country upon, or any date after, the
expiry of their tariff without reference to the Parole
Board. TERS is mandatory; all indeterminate foreign
national prisoners who are liable to removal must
be considered by the Public Protection Casework
Section for removal under the scheme.559
As of the week beginning 18 August 2014, 794
immigration detainees were held in prison.560
The European Committee for the Prevention of
Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment in its standards on the treatment
of persons deprived of their liberty, sets out
that holding immigration detainees in prison is
“fundamentally flawed”.562 A 2013 inspection of
HMP Pentonville found that it was not a suitable
environment to hold immigration detainees.563
Foreign national prisoners in England & Wales, 30 June 2014 by country of origin
555 National Offender Management Service (2014) Business Plan
2014-2015, London: Ministry of Justice
556 Hansard HC, 13 May 2014, c451W
557 Hansard HC, 25 February 2013, c173W
558 Hansard HC, 1 November 2010, c510W
559 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prison Service Instruction 18/2012 Tariff
Expired Removal Scheme, London: Ministry of Justice
560 Hansard HC, 1 September 2014, c141W
561 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2012) Report on a full unannounced
inspection of HMP Lincoln, London: HMIP
562 European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (2013) CPT Standards,
Strasbourg: Council of Europe
563 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2013) Report on a full unannounced
inspection of HMP Pentonville, London: HMIP
43
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Children in prison
At the end of August 2014 there were 1,068
children (under-18s) in custody in England and
Wales, a decrease of 171 from the same point last
year. There were 741 children held in young offender
institutions (YOIs), 240 in secure training centres and
87 in secure children’s homes.564
In August 2014, there were 48 children aged 14
and under in the secure estate in England and
Wales.565
There are 1,951 fewer children in custody than
there were six years ago—a drop of 65%.566
There were 98,837 proven offences committed
by young people on the Youth Offending Team
caseload in 2012–13, a reduction of 50% since
2009–10.567
In August 2014, 639 of the children in custody were
white and 428 were from black or minority ethnic
backgrounds. 44 were girls and 1,024 were boys.568
45% of boys surveyed in custody said they were
from a black or minority ethnic background, up
from 33% in 2009–10. 22% identified themselves
as Muslim. 4% said that they were foreign nationals
and 5% Gypsy, Romany or Traveller.569
The falling number of children in custody partly
reflects the reduction in those serving Detention
and Training Orders (DTOs): between 2009–10
and 2012–13 this fell by 41%.570
The Youth Justice Board (YJB) decommissioned
905 places in the children’s estate during 2013–
14 across four male young offender institutions
(YOIs) and three female YOI units.571
The Ministry of Justice is undertaking a
feasibility study for a second large new prison
with the intention of replacing HMYOI Feltham
with a large new adult prison and a new youth
facility on adjoining sites in West London.572
564 Table 2.1 and 2.4, Youth Justice Board (2014) Monthly Youth
Custody Report - August 2014, London: Youth Justice Board
565 Figure 1, Ibid.
566 Figure 2.1, Youth Justice Board (2014) Monthly Youth Custody
Report - August 2014, London: Youth Justice Board.
567 Table 4.2, Ministry of Justice (2014) Youth Justice Statistics 201213 England and Wales, London: Ministry of Justice
568 Table 2.6 and 2.7, Youth Justice Board (2014) Monthly Youth
Custody Report - August 2014, London: Youth Justice Board
569 Kennedy, E. (2013) Children and Young People in Custody
2012–13, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
and Summerfield, A. (2011) Children and Young People in Custody
2010–11, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
570 Table 5.3, Ministry of Justice (2014) Youth Justice Annual Statistics
2012-13, London: Ministry of Justice
571 Youth Justice Board (2014) Annual Report and Accounts 2013/14,
London: Youth Justice Board
572 Ministry of Justice press release, https://www.gov.uk/government/
news/modernisation-of-the-prison-estate, accesses on 5 September
2013
The Criminal Justice & Courts Bill currently
before Parliament includes provision to build
a 300-place secure college holding boys and
girls ages 12–17. If built it would be the largest
child prison in Europe.573 Competition is currently
underway for new education contracts in YOIs
which will provide 30 hours of education per week
for all young people.574
As a consequence children may now be held
further from home than before.575 The problem
of distance from home is particularly pronounced
in London and the South East, where demand for
secure places outstrips provision. The YJB has
tried to tackle this by increasing capacity at HMYOI
Cookham Wood in Kent, with an additional 77
places.576
In the 12 months to March 2014, 1,552 children
aged between 15 and 17 entered prison under
sentence. 600 of those entering prison were to
serve sentences up to and including six months.577
In 2013, children spent an average of seven
months in custody, including time on remand.578
At the end of June 2013, 7% of children in prison
(15–17) had no previous convictions.579
Children were remanded in custody in 2011–
12 on 3,621 occasions. 773 of these were
subsequently acquitted and 1,031 were given a
non-custodial sentence.580
39% of children in custody in 2012–13 were there
for non-violent crimes. 7% were there for a breach
offence.581
Nearly three-quarters of boys (74%) and girls
(78%) in custody surveyed by the Prisons
Inspectorate believed that most staff treated
them with respect.582
In 2012–13 over half of boys 56% and 61% of
girls told HM Inspectorate of Prisons it was their
first time in custody—a group more likely to
report feeling unsafe.583
573 Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, available at http://services.
parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/criminaljusticeandcourts.html
574 National Offender Management Service (2014) Business Plan
2014-2015, London: Ministry of Justice
575 Youth Justice Board (2013) Annual Report and Accounts 2012/13,
London: Youth Justice Board.
576 Murray, R. (2012) Children and Young People in Custody 2011-12,
London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
577 Table 2.1 Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics (quarterly), January to March 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
578 Table A3.1c, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
579 Table A1.23, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
580 Tables 6.1 and 6.5, Ministry of Justice (2013) Youth Justice
Statistics 2011/12 England and Wales, London: Ministry of Justice
581 Table 7.5a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Youth Justice Statistics 201213 England and Wales, London: Ministry of Justice
582 Kennedy, E. (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 2012–
13, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
583 Kennedy, E. (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 2012–
13, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
44
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
£224 million was spent on the provision of secure
accommodation for children in 2012–13.584
Average cost of a place by accommodation type 2013-14585
Accommodation type
Cost per annum
Secure Training Centre
£187,000
Secure Children’s Home
£209,000
Young Offender Institution
£60,000
Prison Reform Trust research found that one
in eight children in prison had experienced the
death of a parent or sibling. 76% had an absent
father and 33% an absent mother. 39% had been
on the child protection register or had experienced
neglect or abuse.595
68.2% of children (10–17) released from custody
in the 12 months ending September 2012
reoffended within a year.586
The educational background of children in
custody is poor: 86% of boys and all of the girls
surveyed by the Youth Justice Board said they
had been excluded from school. More than a
third of boys (37%) and nearly two-thirds of girls
(65%) said they had not been at school since they
were 14.596
Black and minority ethnic boys surveyed were
less positive about relationships with staff. 65%
reported they felt most staff treated them with
respect, compared to 81% of white boys.587
38% of boys screened on admission to prison in
2000–01 had the level expected of a seven-yearold in numeracy and 31% in literacy. 4% had
levels lower than this in numeracy and literacy.597
Six per cent of black and minority ethnic young
men reported that staff had victimised them
because of their ethnic origin. They also felt that
it was less likely that victimisation would be taken
seriously if they reported it (21% compared with
35% of white young men).588
At least 60% have difficulties with speech,
language and communication that adversely affect
their ability to participate in the custodial regime.598
Fewer than 1% of all children in England are in
care,589 but looked after children make up 33%
of boys and 61% of girls in custody.590
Boys who reported that they have been in care
are more likely than other young men to report
problems with drugs (50%) and alcohol (13%) and
to report having mental health problems (26%).591
Half of the children interviewed by the Prisons
Inspectorate in 2011 who had been in care said
that they did not know who would be collecting
them on the day of their release.592
Children in care were more than 4.5 times more
likely to be sanctioned for an offence than the
general 10–17 population in 2012.593 The gap is
widening; in 2010 it was more than 2.5 times more
likely.594
584 Youth Justice Board (2013) Annual Report and Accounts 2012/13,
London: Youth Justice Board
585 Hansard HC, 27 June 2013, c368W
586 Table 18b, Ministry of Justice (2013) Proven re-offending quarterly
October 2011 to September 2012, London: Ministry of Justice
587 Ibid.
588 Ibid.
589 Department for Education (2013) Children looked after in England
year ending 31 March 2013, London: DfE, StatsWales website, and
Office for National Statistics (2013) Population Estimates Total Persons
for England and Wales and Regions - Mid-1971 to Mid-2012, London:
ONS
590 Kennedy, E. (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 2012–
13, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
591 Ibid.
592 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2011) The Care of Looked After
Children in Custody, a short thematic review, London: The Stationery
Office
593 Table 4, Department for Education (2013) Outcomes for Children
Looked After by Local Authorities in England, as at 31 March 2013,
London: DfE
594 Table 7.1, Department for Education (2010) Outcomes for Children
Looked After by Local Authorities in England, as at 31 March 2010,
21% of young people in custody surveyed for
the Youth Justice Board reported that they had
learning difficulties.599
Research commissioned by the YJB in 2006
found that 18% of 13–18 year olds in custody
had depression, 10% anxiety, 9% post-traumatic
stress disorder and 5% psychotic symptoms.600
67% of boys and 57% of girls who reported
a drug problem on arrival to custody were
receiving help in custody.601
Black and minority ethnic boys who reported
having mental health problems were less likely
to report having received help whilst in prison
than white boys (48% compared with 75%).
Those who reported alcohol problems also said
they were less likely to have received help (44%
compared with 74%).602
11% of children in prison have attempted suicide.603
London: DfE
595 Jacobson J. et al. (2010) Punishing Disadvantage: a profile of
children in custody, London: Prison Reform Trust
596 Kennedy, E (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 201213, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
597 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2002) A second chance: a review
of education and supporting arrangements within units for juveniles
managed by HM Prison Service, a thematic review carried out jointly
with the Office for Standards in Education
598 Bryan, K. and Mackenzie, J. (2008) Meeting the speech, language
and communication needs of vulnerable young children, London:
RCSLT
599 Gyateng, T., et al. (2013) Young People and the Secure Estate:
Needs and Interventions, London: Youth Justice Board
600 Chitsabesan et al. (2006) Mental health needs of young offenders
in custody and in the community, British Journal of Psychiatry Vol. 188,
534-540
601 Kennedy, E. (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 2012–
13, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
602 Ibid.
603 Jacobson J. et al. (2010) Punishing Disadvantage: a profile of
children in custody, London: Prison Reform Trust
45
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
In 2013 there were 508 recorded incidents of
self-harm by 15–17 year-old boys in custody, and
only 17 by 15–17 year-old girls in custody—down
from 139 the year before. 212 children accounted
for these incidents.604
There were 377 incidents of segregation in HMYOI
Ashfield in 2011, an increase of 101% from 2008.
There were 75 incidents of children spending periods
of between 7–14 days in segregation, 56 of 15–27
days and 24 of over 28 days.612
Thirty-two children have died in penal custody
since 1990, almost all by self-inflicted death, but
two were homicide.605 In August 2004, 14 year
old Adam Rickwood became the youngest child
to die in penal custody in recent memory.606
30% of boys and 17% of girls have felt unsafe
at some point in custody. 42% of boys who
considered themselves to have a disability reported
feeling unsafe in custody, compared with 28% who
didn’t have a disability.613
Prevalence of psycho-social and educational problems
among a sample of 200 sentenced children.607
Factor
Associated with predominantly
criminal peers
Substance use viewed as positive and
essential to life
Difficulties with literacy and/or
numeracy
Evidence of self-harm
Attempted suicide
Has been bullied at school
Has statement of special educational
needs
% Cases
70%
26%
26%
20%
11%
10%
18%
There were 6,455 incidents of restraint used in
the youth secure estate in 2012–13. Whilst this is
a 7% decrease on the year before, the number of
incidents on black and minority ethnic children has
risen by 32% since 2009–10.608
Use of restrictive physical interventions (or
restraint as it is more commonly known) on
children are intended “as a last resort, for
example to prevent them causing harm to
themselves or others.”609
30% of boys and 13% of girls report they have
been physically restrained. Both black and minority
ethnic boys and Muslim boys reported higher rates
of restraint (36% and 34% respectively) compared to
non-Muslim (30%) and white boys (25%).610
Giving evidence to Lord Carlile’s five year follow
up review on the use of force on children in
custody, Nick Hardwick, HM Chief Inspector of
Prisons, stated that “HMI Prisons does not accept
that pain-compliance techniques should ever be
used.”611
604 Tables 2.3 and 2.4, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody
Statistics quarterly update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
605 Table 1.3, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
quarterly update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
606 Allison, E. (2011) ‘Second inquest into death of youngest person
to die in custody begins’, The Guardian, 10 January 2011
607 Table 6.1, Jacobson, J. et al. (2010) Punishing Disadvantage: a
profile of children in custody, London: Prison Reform Trust
608 Table 8.2, Youth Justice Board (2014) Youth Justice Statistics
2012-13, London: Ministry of Justice
609 Table 8.2, Youth Justice Board (2014) Youth Justice Statistics
2012-13, London: Ministry of Justice
610 Kennedy, E. (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 2012–
13, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
611 Owen, J. and Brady, B. (2011), Restraint used on young offenders
Fewer than half (44%) of girls in custody would tell
a member of staff if they were being victimised.
Only 56% believed that a member of staff would take
their reports of victimisation seriously.614
Over two-thirds (69%) of boys said they could
use the telephone every day. Only 34% said it
was easy for their friends and family to visit them,
with 21% of boys reporting they didn’t receive visits
from friends and family at all.615
The situation was even worse for boys with a
disability. 58% said they could use a telephone
every day, with 29% reporting they received no
visits from friends and family. Only a quarter
received a visit every week.616
Fewer black and minority ethnic than white boys
said that it was easy or very easy for their family
and friends to visit them (29% compared to 37%).
They were more negative about the timeliness of
visits and their visitors’ treatment by staff.617
In 2011–12, boys in custody spent on average
14.4 hours each day locked in their cells.618
79% of boys and all girls (100%) surveyed said
that they were taking part in education. 66%
of boys, and 71% of girls felt that this would help
them on release.619
90% of boys and 75% of girls surveyed in YOIs
said that they wanted to stop offending. Yet
only 51% of sentenced boys and 38% of girls said
that they had done something or something had
happened to them while they had been in custody
to make them less likely to offend in the future.620
is ‘too harsh’, Independent Online, available at
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/restraint-used-onyoung-offenders-is-too-harsh-2293213.html
612 Hansard HC, 12 March 2012, c102W
613 Kennedy, E. (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 2012–
13, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
614 Ibid.
615 Ibid.
616 Ibid.
617 Ibid.
618 Hansard HC, 6 June 2013, c1295W
619 Kennedy, E. (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 2012–
13, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Youth Justice Board
620 Ibid.
46
Youngest age at which a person may be prosecuted
in a criminal trial
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Young adults in prison
(18-20 year olds)
In 2010–11, 12% of young adults surveyed had
experienced some form of physical abuse from
other prisoners.630
At the end of June 2014 there were 5,701 young
adults aged 18–20 in prison in England and
Wales, 9% fewer than the previous year.621
On average, 38% of prisoners in young adult
prisons report feeling unsafe at some point.631
In the 12 months ending March 2014 there
were 8,522 young adults sent to prison under
sentence, a 17% fall on the previous year. 5,450
young adults entered prison to await trial, a fall of
9% from the previous year.622
While people aged 18–24 account for one in 10
of the UK population in 2010, they accounted for
a third of those sentenced to prison each year; a
third of the probation service caseload and a third
of the total economic and social costs of crime.623
More young adults were in prison for the offence
of violence against the person than any other
offence.624
On 30 June 2014 there were 154 young adults
serving an indeterminate sentence. The majority
(104) were mandatory lifers.625
In May 2009, young adults between the ages of
18 and 20 were held an average of 50 miles away
from their home or committal court address.626
There have been reports that increasing
numbers of young offenders are being held in
adult prisons with wings or single cells being
‘re-designated’ as young offender institutions.627
There are now 53 dual-designated prisons which
are allowed to hold young adults together with
adults (aged 21+).628
Only 5% of young adults surveyed by HM
Inspectorate of Prisons in 2011–12 spent 10
or more hours a day out of cell in purposeful
activity and just over half said they have
association five or more times a week.629
621 Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
622 Table 2.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
and Table 2.1a, Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly January to March 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
623 Transition to Adulthood (2010) Why is the criminal justice system
failing young adults? London: Transition to Adulthood
624 Tables A1.3a and A1.3b, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender
Management Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of
Justice
625 Table A1.13, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
626 Hansard HC, 7 January 2010, c548W
627 Puffett, N. (2012) Fears over young offenders held in adult prisons,
Children and Young People Now website, available at http://www.
cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1074548/fears-offenders-held-adult-prisons
628 Hansard HC, 9 July 2014, c326W
629 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales (2012)
Annual Report 2011-12, London: The Stationery Office
In Prisons Inspectorate surveys, 18% of young
adults said they had been physically restrained
by staff in the last six months compared to no
more than 7% in local, training, high security
and open prisons.632
64% of young adults think most staff treat
them with respect, compared to 70% of all
prisoners.633
20% of young male remand and a third of young
female sentenced prisoners had attempted
suicide at some point in their lives.634
There were five self-inflicted deaths of young
adult prisoners in 2013, all of them young men.
The year before there were two deaths.635 A
report by the Prison Reform Trust and INQUEST
into 200 young deaths in custody between 2002
and 2012 has led the government to commission an
independent review, chaired by Lord Harris.636
Analysis of surveys conducted by the Prisons
Inspectorate found that only 46% of young adult
men said that, if they wanted to, they were able
to speak to a Listener at any time, compared
with 61% of adult men.637
Young adults account for 17% of all self-harm
incidents although they represent 7% of the
population in custody.638
27% of young adults reported arriving into
prison with an alcohol problem and 23% believe
they will leave with an alcohol problem. These
figures almost certainly underestimate the scale of
the problem, as many of those with alcohol problems
will fail to recognise or acknowledge them.639
630 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales (2011)
Annual Report 2010-11, London: The Stationery Office.
631 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales (2012)
Annual Report 2011-12, London: The Stationery Office
632 Ibid.
633 Ibid.
634 Singleton et al. (2000) Psychiatric Morbidity among young
offenders in England and Wales, London: Office for National Statistics
635 Table 1.6, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice
636 Prison Reform Trust and INQUEST (2012) Fatally flawed: Has the
state learned lessons from the deaths of children and young people in
prison?, London: Prison Reform Trust
637 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2014) Report of a review of the
implementation of the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry recommendations,
London: HMIP
638 Table 2.3, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Update to March 2014 - Self harm in prison custody 2004 to 2013,
London: Ministry of Justice and Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014)
Offender Management Statistics Prison Population 2014, London:
Ministry of Justice
639 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales (2011)
48
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A quarter of the young adult population surveyed
by HM Prisons Inspectorate thought they would
leave prison with a drug problem.640
23% of young adults surveyed reported having
spent a night in the segregation unit, against an
overall average of 11% of prisoners.641
Only one of the five young adult prisons
inspected during 2011–12 was assessed
positively against all four healthy prison tests.
None received the highest rating of ‘good’ in any of
the four areas.642
19% of prisoners between 18–20 years old
interviewed for the Surveying Prisoner Crime
Reduction study stated that they had children
themselves. This compares to 4% of the general
population who are young fathers.643
16–24 year-olds are more likely than any other
age group to become a victim of crime.644
29% of young women in custody report having
been sexually abused in childhood.645
Young people who are not in education or
employment are twenty times more likely to
commit a crime. 47% of young people aged 17–24
were in education, training or employment at the
time of their arrest.646
The Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance
evidences and promotes “the need for a distinct
and radically different approach to young adults
[and young people] in the criminal justice
system; an approach that is proportionate to their
maturity and responsive to their specific needs.”647
An evaluation of three T2A pilot projects working
with young offenders in the community and
prior to release from prison found that, over a
six month period, only 9% were reconvicted of a
new offence (all non-violent), 9% breached the
terms of their community order or licence, the
number in employment trebled, and the number
classified NEET halved. In comparison with young
adults who only received probation support, those
from the T2A cohort had more positive outcomes.648
Change in the age profile of the prison population,
England and Wales
Source: Table A1.5, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics Prison Population 2014
Annual Report 2010-11, London: The Stationery Office
640 Ibid.
641 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales (2012)
Annual Report 2011-12, London: The Stationery Office
642 Ibid.
643 Ministry of Justice (2012) Prisoners’ childhood and family
backgrounds, London: Ministry of Justice
644 Table D1, Office for National Statistics (2014) Annual Trend and
Demographic Tables - Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending March
2014, London: ONS
645 Farrant, F. (2001) Troubled Inside: Responding to the mental health
needs of children and young people in prison, London: Prison Reform
Trust
646 Young People in Focus (2009) Young Adults Today: Education,
Training and Employment, London: Young People in Focus
647 Transition to Adulthood (2012) Pathways from Crime, London:
Barrow Cadbury Trust
648 Ibid.
49
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Older people in prison
The prison population has shown a continued
trend of ageing since 2002. The proportion of
prisoners aged 40 or above has increased from 18.5%
in 2002 to 30.5% by 30 June 2014. The proportion
of prisoners aged 60 or over has more than doubled
from 2.1% in 2002 to 4.4% by 30 June 2014.649
People aged 60 and over and those aged 50–59
are respectively the first and second fastest
growing age groups in the prison population.
Between 2002 and 2014 there was an increase of
146% and 122% in the number of prisoners held in
those age groups respectively.650
On 30 June 2014, there were 11,080 prisoners
aged 50 and over in England and Wales,
including 3,720 aged 60 and over. This group
makes up 13% of the total prison population.651
Research to date suggests that older prisoners
possess a physiological age approximately ten
years in excess of their chronological age. Many
offenders experience chronic health problems prior
to or during incarceration as a result of poverty,
poor diet, inadequate access to healthcare,
alcoholism, smoking and other substance abuse.
The psychological strains of prison life further
accelerate the ageing process.652
On 31 March 2014 there were 102 people in
prison aged 80 and over. Five people in prison
were 90 or older.653
43% of men in prison aged over 50 have been
convicted of sex offences. The next highest
offence category is violence against the person
(25%) followed by drug offences (11%).654 For
women, the most common offence was also violence
against the person (33%).655
On 30 June 2014 there were 2,090 people aged
50 and over serving life sentences, of these
1,253 were mandatory sentences. 802 were
serving IPP sentences.656
14% of older prisoners belong to a minority
ethnic group, far higher than the proportion of
the general population.657
649 Table A1.5, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
650 Ibid.
651 Ibid.
652 Moll, A. (2013) Losing Track of Time. Dementia and the ageing
prison population: treatment challenges and examples of good
practice, London: Mental Health Foundation
653 Hansard HC, 21 July 2014, c850W
654 Table A1.4, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
655 Ibid.
656 Table A1.13, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics Prison Population 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
657 Hansard HC, 29 February 2012, c374W
Age is a protected characteristic under the
Equality Act. The prison service has issued Prison
Service Instruction (PSI) 32/2011 which describes
the duties prison staff have under the act. This
gives no specific guidance to staff about working
with older people in their care.
The Prison Reform Trust, along with HMCIP,
Age UK and other organisations has called for
a national strategy for work with older people
in prison. The Justice Committee agrees and has
stated: “It is inconsistent for the Ministry of Justice
to recognise both the growth in the older prisoner
population and the severity of their needs and
not to articulate a strategy to properly account for
this.”658
NOMS is currently working on a plan to support
people with additional needs, alongside the
implementation of the Care Act 2014. This
is expected to cover prisoners with significant
social care needs, including older prisoners in this
category.
The Care Act will be implemented in April 2015 and
local authorities will have a duty to assess and give
care and support to people who meet the threshold
for care and are in prisons and probation hostels in
their area. It is expected to impact most on older
people in prison who have mobility and care needs.
The Department of Health has estimated that
the costs of the Care Act for prisoners to
local authorities will be £9.4 million per year
- comprising of £7.4 million for people over 50
and £2 million for people below 50. This includes
assessment and the cost of the care.659
HM Inspectorate of Prisons found in their 2008
report that of 29 prisons that he had visited only
three had an older prisoner policy.660 Their latest
annual report found that the growing awareness of
the needs of older prisoners was not yet matched
by strategies for provision.661
At HMP Winchester the inspectorate found
two older, severely disabled men who spent all
day together in a small dark cell, who had not
been able to shower for months, and who faced
problems that staff were unaware of.662
658 House of Commons (2013) Older prisoners, London: The
Stationery Office
659 Department of Health (2014) The Care Act 2014: Draft regulations
and guidance for implementation of Part 1 of the Act in 2015/16 Impact Assessment, London: Department of Health
660 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales (2008) Older
Prisoners in England and Wales: A follow up to the 2004 thematic
review, London: The Stationery Office
661 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
662 Ibid.
50
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Health
As the prison population ages, more prisoners
will die of natural causes while in prison. In 2013,
100 people aged 50 or over died of natural causes
whilst in prison, a 79% increase in the last decade.663
In 2010–11 the Prisons and Probation
Ombudsman called for a formal revision
of restraints policy relating to seriously ill
prisoners. Such a review has not taken place and
the Ombudsman continues to investigate deaths
where elderly people with limited mobility have
been restrained with handcuffs and chains, even
when they had been assessed as a low escape
risk and a low risk to the public. In some cases,
restraints had restricted their access to appropriate
healthcare intervention.664
Prisoners can apply for compassionate release
if they have a life expectancy of less than three
months, are bedridden or severely incapacitated.
Numbers released on compassionate release are
low. Between 2009 and 2013, 45 prisoners were
granted early release on compassionate grounds.665
A study conducted in HMP Stafford that found
that 51% of 50–59 year olds and 42% of those
over 60 had at least one diagnosable psychiatric
disorder.666
The number of ‘older prisoner leads’ has
increased in recent years but they do not all
appear always to be active in their roles, nor in
receipt of specialist training. Nearly half (44%)
of establishments do not have an older prisoner
policy, against Department of Health guidance.670
Resettlement
Our 2010 report, Doing Time found that 59 out
of 92 prisons had nothing specific in place to
support the resettlement needs of this group.671
A National Institute for Health Research study
found that release planning for older prisoners
was frequently non-existent. The lack of
information received by prisoners in preparation for
their release caused high levels of anxiety. Many
reported minimal or no contact from probation
workers or offender managers.672
The likelihood of having accommodation on
release from custody decreases the older a
prisoner is. In 2010–11 the proportion of positive
accommodation outcomes on release from custody
were lower for those aged 50–59 (81%) and 60 and
over (79%) than the average of 86%.673
HM Inspectorate of Prisons found that 37% of
those over the age of 50 had a disability,
accounting for 21% of all disabled prisoners.667
While the prevalence of dementia among
older prisoners remains largely undetermined,
combining rates in the community with the theory
of accelerated ageing in prison would suggest it
affects approximately 5% of prisoners over 55.668
Older prisoners interviewed on entering prison
for the first time often suffered from ‘entry
shock’. This was made worse by a lack of
information and an unfamiliarity with prison
regimes and expectations. Delays in accessing
health care and receiving medication were a
particular cause of concern.669
663 Table 1.3, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice
664 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2012) Annual Report 201112, London: Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
665 HC Hansard, 10 February 2014, c488W
666 Table 6, Le Mesurier, N., Kinston, P., Heath, L., Wardle, S. (2010)
A Critical Analysis of the Mental Health Needs of Older Prisoners:
Final Report, South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust and Staffordshire
University
667 Table 3, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2009) Disabled prisoners,
London: The Stationery Office
668 Moll, A. (2013) Losing Track of Time. Dementia and the ageing
prison population: treatment challenges and examples of good
practice, London: Mental Health Foundation
669 Senior, J., et al (2013) Health and social care services for older
male adults in prison: the identification of current service provision
and piloting of an assessment and care planning model, London: The
Stationery Office
670 Ibid.
671 Cooney, F. and Braggins, J. (2010) Doing Time: Good practice
with older people in prison – the views of prison staff, London: Prison
Reform Trust
672 Senior, J., et al (2013) Health and social care services for older
male adults in prison: the identification of current service provision
and piloting of an assessment and care planning model, London: The
Stationery Office
673 Prison Reform Trust, information from NOMS Equality Group, 9
November 2011
51
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Prisoners with learning disabilities
and difficulties
20–30% of offenders have learning disabilities or
difficulties that interfere with their ability to cope
with the criminal justice system.674 People with
learning disabilities or difficulties can experience
problems communicating and expressing
themselves, and in understanding ordinary social
cues.
7% of prisoners have an IQ of less than 70 and a
further 25% have an IQ between 70–79.675
23% of children who offend have very low IQs of
below 70, and a further 36% have an IQ between
70–79.676
60% of children who offend have difficulties
with speech, language and communication,
and half of this group have poor or very poor
communication skills.677
25% of children in the youth justice system have
identified special educational needs, 46% are
rated as underachieving at school and 29% have
difficulties with literacy and numeracy.678
However, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and the
Department of Health have now jointly developed
a Comprehensive Health Assessment Tool. The
tool, which screens for learning disabilities,
specific learning difficulties, communication
difficulties, ADHD and autistic spectrum disorder,
also has a section on neuro-disability. While it is
hoped that all Youth Offending Teams will adopt the
new tool, the YJB is unable to mandate its use.683
Most youth offending team staff believe
that children with learning disabilities,
communication difficulties, mental health
problems, ADHD, and low levels of literacy who
offend are more likely than children without such
impairments to receive a custodial sentence.684
Over 80% of prison staff say that information
accompanying people into prison is unlikely to
show that the presence of learning disabilities
had been identified prior to their arrival. Once in
prison there is no routine or systematic procedure
for identifying prisoners with learning disabilities.
Consequently the particular needs of such
prisoners are rarely recognised or met.685
Dyslexia is three to four times more common
amongst prisoners than the general
population.680
A learning disability screening tool, the LDSQ,
was piloted in four prisons under the auspices
of the Department of Health. The results, reported
in March 2010, established that it was an effective
tool for use in prisons. The tool has still not been
made routinely available. Further work needs to
be undertaken to ensure that the support needs of
people with learning disabilities, are recognised and
met at the point of arrest.
The National Offender Management Service
is working on developing an appropriate tool
to determine when prisoners have learning
disabilities.681
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has noted during
inspections that a few prisons, including Rye Hill,
had introduced the Learning Disability Screening
Questionnaire (LDSQ), which was good practice.686
According to the Department of Health, youth
justice screening tools have tended to overlook
the physical health problems and underestimate
the rate of mental health problems of children
who offend.682
On 30 April 2009, Lord Bradley, a former Minister
of State at the Home Office, published the
findings of his government commissioned
review of people with mental health problems
and learning disabilities in the criminal justice
system.687
21% of young people in custody surveyed for
the Youth Justice Board reported that they had
learning difficulties.679
674 Loucks, N. (2007) No One Knows: Offenders with Learning
Difficulties and Learning Disabilities. Review of prevalence and
associated needs, London: Prison Reform Trust
675 Mottram, P. G. (2007) HMP Liverpool, Styal and Hindley Study
Report. Liverpool: University of Liverpool
676 Harrington, R. and Bailey, S. (2005) Mental health needs and
effectiveness provision for young offenders in custody and in the
community. London: YJB
677 Bryan, K. and Mackenzie, J. (2008) Meeting the speech, language
and communication needs of vulnerable young children, London:
RCSLT
678 Youth Justice Board (2006) Barriers to engaging in education,
training and employment, London: YJB
679 Gyateng, T., et al. (2013) Young People and the Secure Estate:
Needs and Interventions, London: Youth Justice Board
680 Rack, J. (2005) The Incidence of Hidden Disabilities in the Prison
Population, Surrey: Dyslexia Institute
681 National Offender Management Service (2014) Annual Report
2013-14, London: Ministry of Justice
682 HM Government (2009) Healthy Children, Safer Communities,
London: Department of Health
683 Provided by Youth Justice Board
684 Talbot, J. (2010) Seen and Heard: supporting vulnerable children in
the youth justice system, London: Prison Reform Trust
685 Talbot, J, (2007) No One Knows: Identifying and supporting
prisoners with learning difficulties and learning disabilities: the views of
prison staff, London: Prison Reform Trust
686 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
687 Department of Health (2009) The Bradley Report, Lord Bradley’s
report of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in
the criminal justice system, London: Department of Health
52
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The Bradley Report calls for all police custody
suites and courts to have access to liaison and
diversion services. These services would work
with criminal justice staff to identify people with
mental health needs or learning disabilities.
Information gathered by liaison and diversion services
will help inform disposal options including, where
appropriate, diversion away from criminal justice into
treatment and care.688
The government announced its intention to
invest £50 million by 2014 in liaison and diversion
services at police stations and courts.689 An
additional £25m was also announced in January
2014, however, the deadline for full roll out
of services has slipped from 2014 to 2017.690
Services will help to ensure the necessary treatment
and support for people as they pass through
the justice system including, where appropriate,
diversion away from the justice system into
treatment and care.
In order to ensure that the government’s
proposals for a national roll-out of liaison and
diversion services across England are fully
implemented, the Prison Reform Trust and
the National Federation of Women’s Institutes
formed the Care not Custody coalition. As of July
2014 the coalition comprises 34 allied professional
groups and charities representing almost two
million people across the health, social care and
justice sectors and wider civic society.691
Over half of prison staff believe that prisoners with
learning disabilities or difficulties are more likely to
be victimized and bullied than other prisoners.692
Over half of such prisoners say they had been scared
while in prison and almost half say they have been
bullied or that people have been nasty to them.693
Youth offending team staff reported that children
with impairments and difficulties had problems
understanding the consequences of failing to
comply with court orders and what they needed
to do to successfully complete an intervention.694
688 Ibid.
689 Hansard HC, 15 February 2011, c811
690 Department of Health website, accessed on 27 March 2014,
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-funding-for-mental-healthnurses-to-be-based-at-police-stations-and-courts-across-the-country
691 Prison Reform Trust website, accessed on 16 October 2014,
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/ProjectsResearch/Mentalhealth/
CarenotCustody
692 Talbot, J, (2007) No One Knows: Identifying and supporting
prisoners with learning difficulties and learning disabilities: the views of
prison staff, London: Prison Reform Trust
693 Talbot, J. (2008) Prisoners’ Voices: Experiences of the criminal
justice system by prisoners with learning disabilities and difficulties,
London: Prison Reform Trust
694 Talbot, J. (2010) Seen and Heard: supporting vulnerable children in
the youth justice system, London: Prison Reform Trust
Many prisoners with learning disabilities
or difficulties find it hard to access prison
information; over two-thirds have problems
reading prison information, which rises to fourfifths for those with learning disabilities.695
Over two-thirds have problems filling in prison
forms, which rises to three-quarters for those
with learning disabilities. Consequently many miss
out on things such as family visits and going to the
gym, or getting the wrong things delivered such as
canteen goods.696
Over half say they have problems making
themselves understood in prison, which rises
to more than two-thirds for those with learning
disabilities. Over two-thirds experience problems
in verbal comprehension skills, including difficulties
understanding certain words and in expressing
themselves.697
Prisoners with learning disabilities are frequently
excluded from elements of the prison regime
including opportunities to address their
offending behaviour. One interviewed person said:
“It’s hard, hard dealing with the sentence let alone
dealing with the stresses of not being able to do
the course. The pressure of just being here…and
knowing that you’ll have to be here longer because
you can’t read is hard.”698
Offending behaviour programmes are not
generally accessible for offenders with an
IQ below 80. There is a mismatch between the
literacy demands of programmes and the skill level
of offenders, which is particularly significant with
regard to speaking and listening skills.699
A report by HM Chief Inspectors of Prison
and Probation described this predicament—
prisoners being unable to access the
interventions they needed to secure their
release—as “Kafka-esque”.700
695 Talbot, J. (2008) Prisoners’ Voices: Experiences of the criminal
justice system by prisoners with learning disabilities and difficulties,
London: Prison Reform Trust
696 Ibid.
697 Ibid.
698 This interviewee was unable to progress through his sentence
plan because the cognitive behaviour treatment programme he was
required to complete demanded a level of literacy that he did not have;
he was on an indeterminate public protection sentence, IPP, which
means that until (and unless) he was able to demonstrate a reduction
in risk, achieved by progressing through his sentence plan, he would
be unlikely to get parole and was likely to remain longer in prison as a
result.
699 Davies, K. et al. (2004) An evaluation of the literacy demands of
general offending behaviour programmes, Home Office Findings, 233,
London: Home Office
700 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and HM Chief Inspector of
Probation (2008) The indeterminate sentence for public protection: A
thematic review, London: The Stationery Office
53
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On the same issue the Joint Committee
on Human Rights noted that “people with
learning disabilities may serve longer custodial
sentences than others convicted of comparable
crimes.” Responding to evidence submitted by the
Prison Reform Trust, the committee went on to say
that “this clearly [breaches] Article 5 ECHR (right to
liberty) and Article 14 ECHR (enjoyment of ECHR
rights without discrimination).”701
Prison staff would like greater strategic and
operational direction to assist their work with
this group of prisoners.709
In February 2010, a prisoner with learning
disabilities who had served over twice his
tariff was awarded a case for breach of the
Disability Discrimination Act and for breach by
the Secretary of State for Justice, for failing in
his duties to take steps to enable the prisoner
in question to undertake some type of offending
behaviour work.702
Youth offending team staff would like greater
input from specialist workers to assist in
identifying and supporting children with
impairments and difficulties, and lower
thresholds to access service provision, in
particular, for children with learning disabilities
and mental health problems.711
Prisoners’ inability to participate fully in
the prison regime leaves them at greater
psychological risk as they spend more time
alone with little to occupy themselves. People
with learning disabilities are the most likely to spend
time on their own and have fewer things to do.703
Prisoners with learning disabilities or difficulties
are five times as likely as prisoners without such
impairments to have been subject to control and
restraint techniques and more than three times
as likely to have spent time in segregation.704
Youth offending team staff often do not know
what specialist service provision is available to
help support children with learning disabilities
and difficulties, or what benefits access to such
support might bring.710
Prisoners with learning disabilities and
difficulties are discriminated against personally,
systemically and routinely as they enter and
travel through the criminal justice system.
Criminal justice staff and those responsible for
providing services are failing in their duty to
promote equality of opportunity and to eliminate
discrimination. As such they are not complying with
the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act
2005 and the Disability Equality Duty in particular.712
Prisoners with learning disabilities or difficulties
are more than three times as likely as prisoners
without such impairments to have clinically
significant depression or anxiety.705
Over half of prison staff are not confident that
their prison has the skills and expertise to
support this group of prisoners.706
Over half of prison staff believe that the overall
quality of support available for this group of
prisoners at their prison is low.707
Learning disability awareness training is not
readily available for prison staff.708
701 Joint Committee on Human Rights (2007-08) A life like any
other? Human rights of adults with learning disabilities, London: The
Stationery Office
702 Gill v Secretary of State for Justice, available at
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2010/364.html
703 Talbot, J. (2008) Prisoners’ Voices: Experiences of the criminal
justice system by prisoners with learning disabilities and difficulties,
London: Prison Reform Trust
704 Ibid.
705 Ibid.
706 Talbot, J, (2007) No One Knows: Identifying and supporting
prisoners with learning difficulties and learning disabilities: the views of
prison staff, London: Prison Reform Trust
707 Ibid.
708 Ibid.
709 Ibid.
710 Talbot, J. (2010) Seen and Heard: supporting vulnerable children in
the youth justice system, London: Prison Reform Trust
711 Ibid.
712 Talbot, J. (2008) Prisoners’ Voices: Experiences of the criminal
justice system by prisoners with learning disabilities and difficulties,
London: Prison Reform Trust
54
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Mental health
In a thematic review of the care and support of
prisoners with mental health needs, the then HM
Chief Inspector of Prisons said that “prison has
become, to far too large an extent, the default
setting for those with a wide range of mental
and emotional disorders.”713
In 2013, 25% of women and 15% of men
in prison reported symptoms indicative of
psychosis.714 The rate among the general public is
about 4%.715
10% of men and 30% of women have had a
previous psychiatric admission before they
entered prison.716
26% of women and 16% of men said they had
received treatment for a mental health problem
in the year before custody.717
Personality disorders are particularly prevalent
among people in prison. 62% of male and 57%
of female sentenced prisoners have a personality
disorder.718
49% of women and 23% of male prisoners in
a Ministry of Justice study were assessed as
suffering from anxiety and depression. This
can be compared with 16% of the general UK
population (12% of men and 19% of women).719
46% of women prisoners reported having
attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
This is more than twice the rate of male prisoners
(21%) and higher than in the general UK population
amongst whom around 6% report having ever
attempted suicide.720
On 30 April 2009, Lord Bradley, a former Minister
of State at the Home Office, published the
findings of his government commissioned
review of people with mental health problems
and learning disabilities in the criminal justice
system.721
713 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2007) The mental health of prisoners,
a thematic review of the care and support of prisoners with mental
health needs, London: The Stationery Office
714 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice.
715 Wiles, N., et al. (2006) Self-reported psychotic symptoms in the
general population, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 188: 519-526
716 Department of Health, Conference Report, Sharing Good Practice
in Prison Health, 4/5 June 2007
717 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
718 Stewart, D. (2008) The problems and needs of newly sentenced
prisoners: results from a national survey, London: Ministry of Justice
719 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
720 Ibid.
721 Department of Health (2009) The Bradley Report, Lord Bradley’s
report of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in
the criminal justice system, London: Department of Health
According to the report there is currently
insufficient data to identify how many individuals
are remanded in custody pending a psychiatric
report, how many are assessed as having a
mental health problem, and how many are so
unwell that they require transferring out of
custody for treatment.722
Lord Bradley also called for adequate
community alternatives to prison for vulnerable
offenders where appropriate. The review heard
evidence that 2,000 prison places per year could
be saved if a proportion of eligible, short-term
prisoners who committed offences while suffering
mental health problems were given appropriate
community sentences.723
The report recommended that the Department
of Health introduce a new 14 day maximum wait
to transfer prisoners with acute, severe mental
illnesses to an appropriate health setting.724
Whilst there has been some progress in improving
access to hospital care for prisoners requiring
specialist treatment, the 14 day target has not been
implemented and reform continues to be vital.725
An analysis of over 21,000 custody records in
four police stations in cities in the East Midlands
showed that an appropriate adult was used in
only 38 instances (0.016%). Based on the most
conservative extract of the rates of mental illness
in the population, there should have been about
400 instances (1.9%), and on the more generous
estimate 3,000 (14%).726 The Bradley Commission
has since called for funding arrangements for
Appropriate Adult schemes to be clarified.727
Only 30% of mental health in-reach team records
looked at in 2009 by the Prisons Inspectorate
recorded ethnicity, even though this is a minimum
requirement within the NHS dataset.728
Black and minority ethnic groups are 40% more
likely than average to access mental health
services via a criminal justice system gateway.729
722 Department of Health (2009) The Bradley Report, Lord Bradley’s
report on people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in
the criminal justice system, London: Department of Health
723 Ibid.
724 Ibid.
725 Durcan, G., et al. (2014) The Bradley Report five years on: An
independent review of progress to date and priorities for further
development, London: Centre for Mental Health
726 Department of Health (2009) The Bradley Report, Lord Bradley’s
report on people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in
the criminal justice system, London: Department of Health
727 Durcan, G., et al. (2014) The Bradley Report five years on: An
independent review of progress to date and priorities for further
development, London: Centre for Mental Health
728 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2009) Race relations in
prison: responding to adult women from black and minority ethnic
backgrounds, London: The Stationery Office
729 Department of Health (2009) The Bradley Report, Lord Bradley’s
report of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in
the criminal justice system, London: Department of Health
55
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
According to a Ministry of Justice self-report
study amongst those who had been abused
as a child, 28% reported having been treated/
counselled for a mental health/emotional problem
in the year prior to custody compared with 12%
of those who had not experienced abuse.730
A study by University College London found
that 40% of child sexual exploitation victims
were involved in offending behaviour. 50% of the
offending group had committed their first offence
by 14 and 75% by 15, and that 70% of offenders
reoffended, with one quarter committing 10 or more
offences.731
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has noted that
patients with more complex mental health
problems have good access to mental health
staff, but services for patients with common
mental health problems were less developed. In
some prisons daytime therapeutic support services
and access to counselling were limited.732
In 2014, the Bradley Commission repeated Lord
Bradley’s call for mental health and learning
disability awareness training for all frontline
criminal justice and health staff, which should be
regularly updated.733
HM Inspectorate of Prisons found that the
number of staff who had received mental health
awareness training ranged from almost 90% to
less than 10% of uniformed officers.734
In 2011, 953 prisoners were transferred to
National Health Service secure services.735 The
majority of transfers are to medium secure care.736
Prisoners considered to be suffering from
anxiety and depression were more likely to be
reconvicted than those who were not (59%
compared with 50%) in the year after release
from custody.738
Following debate in every branch in England
and Wales, delegates at the National Federation
of Women’s Institutes conference in Liverpool
in June 2008 voted overwhelmingly—6,205 in
favour and 173 against—for a resolution to call
a halt to the inappropriate imprisonment of the
mentally ill.739
Following a three year campaign led by the
National Federation of Women’s Institutes in
partnership with the Prison Reform Trust, the
then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and the
then Justice Secretary Ken Clarke announced
plans to set up a national service for the
diversion of the mentally ill from the justice
system into treatment and care. The two cabinet
ministers committed initial funding of £50 million for
100 “diversion sites” across England.740
The government announced its intention to
invest £50 million by 2014 in liaison and diversion
services at police stations and courts.741 An
additional £25m was also announced in January
2014, however, the deadline for full roll out
of services has slipped from 2014 to 2017.742
Services will help to ensure the necessary treatment
and support for people as they pass through
the justice system including, where appropriate,
diversion away from the justice system into
treatment and care.
Self-harm
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has noted that
transfer times for patients accessing secure
NHS facilities continued to improve over 2011–
12 but in certain areas of the country, including
London, they remain problematic. At the time of
the inspection of Brixton, for example, 14 patients
were awaiting transfer to NHS mental health beds,
one of whom had been waiting over six months.737
In the 12 months to March 2014, there were a total
of 23,478 incidents of self-harm in prisons, 756
more than in the previous 12 months.744
730 Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics
and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
731 Cockbain, E. and Brayley, H. (2011) Briefing Document: CSE and
Youth Offending, Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science,
London: UCL
732 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
733 Durcan, G., et al. (2014) The Bradley Report five years on: An
independent review of progress to date and priorities for further
development, London: Centre for Mental Health
734 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2014) Report of a review of the
implementation of the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry recommendations,
London: HMIP
735 Hansard HL, 22 October 2012 cWA39
736 Hansard HL, 4 November 2010, c445W.
737 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
738 Ministry of Justice (2012) Estimating the prevalence of disability
amongst prisoners: results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime
Reduction (SPCR) survey, London: Ministry of Justice
739 The WI website, accessed on 16 October 2014,
http://www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns/current-campaigns-and-initiatives/
care-not-custody/campaign-overview
740 Prison Reform Trust website, accessed on 16 October 2014,
http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/PressPolicy/News/vw/1/
ItemID/121
741 Hansard HC, 15 February 2011, c811
742 Department of Health website, accessed on 27 March 2014,
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-funding-for-mental-healthnurses-to-be-based-at-police-stations-and-courts-across-the-country
743 Harrington, R. and Bailey, S. (2005) Mental health needs and
effectiveness provision for young offenders in custody and in the
community. London: YJB
744 Table 3, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
In an assessment of 13–18 year olds in custody,
17% of girls and 7% of boys deliberately harmed
themselves.743
56
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
27% of self-harm incidents occurred within the
first month of arriving in a prison—10% in the first
week.745
The rates of men harming themselves in prison
have increased over the last five years, from
156 self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners in
2008 to 214 per 1,000 prisoners in 2013. The rates
for women have fallen over the last three years,
but still remain significantly higher than for men.
In 2010 there were 2,982 self-harm incidents per
1,000 women in prison, this fell to 1,530 in 2013, a
reduction of 49%.746
Women accounted for 26% of all incidents
of self-harm in the 12 months to March 2014
despite representing just 5% of the total prison
population. This has fallen sharply over the last
three years when women accounted for nearly half
of all incidents, but reflects rising incidents amongst
men.747
Many incidents reflect prolific self-harm by the
same women. Of the prisoners who did injure
themselves in 2013, 46% of women and 58% of
men did so once, while 7% of women and 1% of
men did so more than 20 times.748
In a case study conducted by the Safer Custody
Group of 50 ‘prolific self-harmers’, only 12 of the
women studied had not experienced abuse or
rape in their lives. Of those who had experienced
rape or abuse, 18 were children when it happened.
Half had been in a psychiatric inpatient unit in
the past, and 19 had been receiving psychiatric
treatment prior to custody.749
Younger adults are more likely to harm
themselves than older prisoners. In 2013
prisoners aged 18-20 accounted for 7% of
the prison population but 18% of all self-harm
incidents.750
Care not Custody coalition members
Action for Prisoners’ Families
NHS Confederation, Mental Health Network
The Advocacy Training Council
National Appropriate Adult Network
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
National Federation of Women’s Institutes
Association of Members of Independent Monitoring Boards Probation Chiefs Association
Bar Council
Police Federation of England and Wales
British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy
Police Foundation
Centre for Mental Health
Prison Governors Association
Office of the Children’s Commissioner
Prison Officers Association
Clinks
Prison Reform Trust
Criminal Bar Association
Rethink Mental Illness
Criminal Justice Alliance
Revolving Doors Agency
The Howard League for Penal Reform
Royal College of Nursing
KeyRing Living Support Networks
Royal College of Psychiatrists
The Law Society
Together: For Mental Wellbeing
Magistrates’ Association
Victim Support
Mencap
Women’s Breakout
Mind
Women in Prison
745 Table 2.5, Ibid.
746 Table 2.1, Ibid.
747 Table 3, Ibid. and Table 1.1 (2014) Offender Management Statistics
Quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
748 Table 2.12, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics,
Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
749 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2009) Race relations in
prison: responding to adult women from black and minority ethnic
backgrounds, London: The Stationery Office
750 Table 2.3, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics,
Update to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice and Table A1.1,
Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management Statistics Quarterly,
January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
57
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Deaths in custody
Between 2000 and 2013 there were 2,488 deaths
in prison custody. This includes 1,345 as a result
of natural causes, 1,050 self-inflicted deaths and 20
homicides.751
In 2013 there were 75 self-inflicted deaths
in prisons in England and Wales and in 2012
there were 61, an increase of 23%.752 This figure
includes the death of two women, and five young
people aged 18-20.753
Thirty-two children have died in penal custody
since 1990, most by self inflicted death but two
were by homicide.757
506 young people aged 15–25 died in prison
between 1990 and 2013. 86% of these deaths
were classified as self-inflicted.758
In 2013 there were 129 deaths from natural
causes, a 5% increase on the previous year. The
number of deaths from natural causes has more
than doubled since 2000.759
In 2012 the rate of self-inflicted deaths amongst
the prison population was 71 per 100,000
people. The rate amongst the general population
was 11.6 per 100,000 people. The rate in prison
has since risen to 89 per 100,000 people in 2013.755
The average age of people dying from natural
causes in prison between 2007 and 2010
inclusive was 56 years old, with the youngest
aged 19 and the oldest 88 years old. A large
number of deaths are those prisoners aged
between 35 and 54 years (39% of all deaths). Whilst
these prisoners may be described as ‘middle-aged’
by community standards, they are considered to be
‘older prisoners’ by medical practitioners once over
the age of 50. This reflects how people may age
more quickly while in prison.760
People on the basic regime represent 2% of the
prison population, but accounted for 8% of selfinflicted deaths in custody between 2007 and
2012.756
Only half of those in the youngest age group (1534) received care equivalent to that which they
could have expected in the community. Equity of
care improved with age.761
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO)
has reported a 64% increase in self-inflicted
deaths in 2013–14. Commenting in his Annual
Report he said “this reflects a rising toll of despair
among some prisoners.”754
Source: Tables 1.7 and 1.3, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics update to March 2014
751 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice
752 Ibid.
753 Table 1.2 and Table 1.3, Ibid.
754 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2014) Annual Report 201314, London: PPO
755 Table 1.1, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice and Office for National Statistics
(2014) Suicides in the United Kingdom, 2012 Registrations, Newport:
Office for National Statistics
756 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2013) Learning Lessons
Bulletin: Fatal incidents investigations issue 4, London: Prisons and
Probation Ombudsman
757 Table 1.3, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice
758 Ibid.
759 Table 1.1, Ibid.
760 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2012) Learning from PPO
investigations: Natural cause deaths in prison custody 2007-2010,
London: Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
761 Ibid.
58
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
The PPO has found that in the 92 cases of
deaths from natural causes in prison studied,
restraints were used during final inpatient stays
on 29 out of 52 occasions.762
20% of the PPO’s investigations into selfinflicted deaths in custody between 2007-09
found evidence that the deceased was subject
to bullying or intimidation by other prisoners in
the three months prior to their death.763
The suicide rate for men in prison is five times
greater than that for men in the community. Boys
aged 15-17 are 18 times more likely to take their
own lives in prison than in the community.764
Men recently released from prison were eight
times more likely than the general population to
take their own life. Women were 36 times more
likely to take their own life.765
46% of women prisoners interviewed for the
Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction study
reported having attempted suicide at some
point in their lives, over twice the rate of
male prisoners (21%); the rate of the general
population is 6%.766
14 self-inflicted deaths in 2013 occurred within
the first seven days in prison, up from five in
2012.767
762 Ryan-Mills, D. (2010) Review: fatal incidents reports from
September 2008 to August 2009, London: Prisons and Probation
Ombudsman
763 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2011) Learning from fatal
incident investigations: Self-inflicted deaths in prison custody 20072009, London: Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
764 Fazel, S. et al., Suicides in male prisons 1978-2003, The Lancet,
vol 366, issue 9493, 8 October 2005
765 Pratt, D. et al., Suicide in recently released prisoners: a populationbased cohort study, The Lancet - Vol. 368, Issue 9530, 8 July 2006
766 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
767 Table 1.7, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice
In 2013, 32% of self-inflicted deaths were by
people held on remand, despite their comprising
13% of the prison population.768 The PPO has
noted that they are not currently defined as a
group at particular risk by the National Offender
Management Service.769
An investigation by the PPO into 361 self-inflicted
deaths in custody, published in 2014, found that
“most of those who died were white, single men
and remand prisoners were over-represented. A
quarter of the sample were in the first month of their
custody and a third were in prison for the first time. A
quarter had committed their main offence against a
family member or partner.”770
Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork
(ACCT) is a Prison Service-wide process for
supporting and monitoring prisoners thought to
be at risk of harming themselves. Half of people
in the PPO survey sample (50%) had been
monitored on ACCT processes at some point
during their time in prison.771
However just a quarter (24%) were being monitored
on ACCT processes at the time of their death, and
slightly fewer (18%) had these processes begun or
reviewed in their final three days. This indicates how
few of the prisoners were recognised to be at particular
risk, and in part, that many prisoners were able to
disguise their feelings from staff.772
Source: Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance
misuse and mental health amongst prisoners
768 Table 1.8, Ministry of Justice (2014) Safety in Custody Statistics
Quarterly Update to March 2014 - Deaths in prison custody 1978 to
2013, London: Ministry of Justice, and Table A1.1, Ministry of Justice
(2014) Offender Management Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London:
Ministry of Justice
769 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2014) Learning from PPO
investigations: Risk factors in self-inflicted deaths in prisons, London:
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
770 Ibid.
771 Ibid.
772 Ibid.
59
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Over a third (38%) were known to have either
self-harmed or previously attempted suicide
while in prison; 13% had attempted suicide in
the prison in which they later died. This group
were more likely than the rest of the sample to have
been fostered or in care as children (11% compared
to 5%), or to have suffered physical or sexual abuse
in the past (15% compared to 4%). In the last few
days before their deaths most (68%) were thought
to be at some risk of suicide and 40% were on
ACCT when they died, but for the most part the risk
was felt to be low—only 7% were assessed as high
risk of suicide.773
Use of drugs or alcohol can be a risk factor for
suicidal behaviour. On reception into the prison,
19% of the prisoners surveyed were dependent
drug or alcohol users and a further 17% were
frequent users. The largest proportions of prisoners
were dependent on heroin or other opiates (48% of
dependent users), or alcohol (41%).774
In response to a report by the Prison Reform
Trust and INQUEST,775 the government
announced an independent review into the
deaths of young people in prison custody, aged
18–24, in February 2014 to be chaired by Lord
Harris. The review will make recommendations
to reduce the risk of future self-inflicted deaths in
custody.776
67% of the young adults in the PPO’s sample
had mental health needs, and 27% had
previously been admitted for psychiatric care.780
Analysis of surveys conducted by HM Prisons
Inspectorate found that only 46% of young adult
men said that, if they wanted to, they were able
to speak to a Listener at any time, compared
with 61% of adult men.781
In an analysis of over 200 reports into selfinflicted deaths in custody, the PPO found that
nearly two-thirds of deaths took place in local
prisons.782
24 of the 65 prisoners who took their own lives
in the 12 months ending 31 August 2009 had
reported a history of attempted suicide prior
to reception into their final establishment.
Seventeen of these reported having attempted
suicide in the previous 12 months: 10 whilst in
custody and seven whilst in the community. Eight
of the 65 had a documented history of attempted
suicide in their final establishment.783
Approximately 30% of prisoners who take their
own lives had no family contact prior to their
deaths.784
A fifth (20%) of the 18–24 year olds in the PPO’s
investigation into young adult deaths were
recorded as having experienced bullying from
other prisoners in the month before their death,
compared to 13% of other prisoners.777
16% of the 18–24 year olds were on the basic
level of the Incentives and Earned Privileges
(IEP) scheme before their death. This compared
to 6% in other self-inflicted deaths of older adult
prisoners.778
A fifth (20%) had moved cells in their last 72
hours. Sometimes moves between cells or wings
in the same prison occurred very shortly before the
prisoner took their own life. A move between wings
can mean losing the support of a friendly cell mate
or familiar faces on the wing.779
773 Ibid.
774 Ibid.
775 Prison Reform Trust and INQUEST (2012) Fatally flawed: Has the
state learned lessons from the deaths of children and young people in
prison?, London: Prison Reform Trust
776 The Harris Review website, accessed on 18 August 2014,
http://iapdeathsincustody.independent.gov.uk/harris-review/
777 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2014) Learning lessons
bulletin: Fatal incident investigations issue 6 Young Adult Prisoners,
London: Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
778 Ibid.
779 Ibid.
780 Ibid.
781 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2014) Report of a review of the
implementation of the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry recommendations,
London: HMIP
782 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2012) Annual Report 201112, London: Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
783 Ryan-Mills, D. (2010) Review: fatal incidents reports from
September 2008 to August 2009, London: Prisons and Probation
Ombudsman for England and Wales
784 NOMS, Safer Custody News, January/February 2010
60
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Disability, health and wellbeing
Disability
An estimated 36% of 1,435 prisoners interviewed
for the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction study,
were considered to have a disability when survey
answers about disability and health, including
mental health, were screened. This compares with
20% of men and 18% of women in the community.785
18% of prisoners interviewed were considered
to have a physical disability.786
When asked about their entry into custody,
prisoners with a disability were more likely to
state that they felt ‘extremely alone’ during their
first days in prison (55%) than prisoners who
do not have a disability (36%), and that they felt
‘worried and confused’ when they arrived (60%
compared to 42%).787
A higher proportion of prisoners with a disability
than those without a disability stated that they
need help with a medical problem (35% compared
to 10%) and with a mental health or emotional
problem (40% compared to 9%). A higher proportion
of prisoners with a disability than those without a
disability stated that they had ever self-harmed, and
that they had ever attempted suicide (24% compared
to 9%, and 40% compared to 15% respectively).788
In 2012, HM Inspectorate of Prisons reported
that disability liaison officers were in place in
some establishments but that many lacked
sufficient time to develop work with prisoners
with a disability and older prisoners.789
HM Inspectorate of Prisons found that 37% of
those over the age of 50 had a disability,
accounting for 21% of all disabled prisoners.790
The Justice Committee found that disability and
mobility needs are both severe and commonplace
and that older prisoners risk being isolated by
a physical environment and regime which they
cannot access. They recommended that older
and disabled prisoners should no longer be held in
institutions which are not able to meet their needs or
are unsuitable environments.791
785 Ministry of Justice (2012) Estimating the prevalence of disability
amongst prisoners: results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime
Reduction (SPCR) survey, London: Ministry of Justice
786 Ibid.
787 Ministry of Justice (2012) Estimating the prevalence of disability
amongst prisoners: results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime
Reduction (SPCR) survey, London: Ministry of Justice
788 Ibid.
789 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
790 Table 3, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2009) Disabled prisoners,
London: The Stationery Office
791 Justice Committee (2013) Older Prisoners, London: The Stationery
The Inspectorate also found that sometimes
questionable security imperatives got in the way
of making reasonable adjustments required by
the Equality Act 2010.792
HM Inspectorate of Prisons made more
recommendations about disability than for any
other protected characteristic in 2012–13. They
remained concerned that identification of prisoners
with disabilities was inconsistent.793
In 2010 the then HM Chief Inspector of Prisons said
in her annual report that often inspectors found
that prisoners with mobility difficulties suffered
considerable disadvantage because of the refusal
by prison staff to push wheelchairs without training.
Anne Owers added that “it is unacceptable that this
has not been resolved.”794
Some prisons inspected in 2012–13 had made
significant adaptations to their accommodation,
and prisoners were used as paid carers and
wheelchair pushers.795
In surveys conducted by HM Inspectorate of
Prisons, prisoners with a disability continued to
report reduced access to the regime—including
education or vocational training, access to
the library, gym, exercise and association—
compared to prisoners without a disability.796
Fewer than one in 10 youth offending team
(YOT) staff said there was somebody at their
YOT who carried responsibility for children with
disabilities.797
Healthcare
Since April 2013, NHS England became
responsible for commissioning of all health
services. Responsibility for commissioning
offender health services lies with ten of the 27 area
teams of NHS England. A National Partnership
Agreement between NHS England and NOMS sets
out a commitment and strategy for joint working.
Healthcare is a devolved responsibility in Wales.798
Office
792 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
793 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
794 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2010) Annual Report 2008-09,
London: The Stationery Office
795 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
796 Ibid.
797 Talbot, J. (2010) Seen and Heard: supporting vulnerable children in
the youth justice system, London: Prison Reform Trust
798 NHS England website, accessed on 28 August 2014,
http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/commissioning/health-just/
61
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For boys who had been to healthcare, 60%
thought that the overall quality was good/very
good, compared to 77% of girls, down from 65%
and 82% in 2009–10.799
Black and minority ethnic boys reported worse
access to healthcare services in all areas, and
only 53% said they thought the overall quality of
healthcare was good or very good, compared
with 66% of white boys.800
In its 2011–12 annual report HM Chief Inspector
of Prisons noted that many more prisons
had developed excellent evidence-based
approaches to palliative care and the care of
lifelong incapacitating illnesses. They saw good
and caring practices in several prisons to ease the
suffering of terminally ill patients and their relatives.
At HMP Manchester, a dedicated care room had
been created on the inpatient unit and families were
allowed to visit.801
However, a recent report on end of life care by
the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman found
that care is not universally good. Over a quarter
of prisoners in their sample of foreseeable deaths
had no palliative care plan, support for families
was variable, and greater efforts could have been
made to obtain temporary or compassionate
release to allow prisoners to die with dignity in the
community.802
HM Inspectorate of Prisons noted in 2007–08
a paucity of health information in different
languages and, of particular concern, the use of
prisoners to translate for others.803
Wellbeing
Only 17% of prisoners surveyed in category C
training prisons and 15% in category B training
prisons said they spent 10 hours out of cell on a
weekday.804
45% of boys (15–18 years old) and 71% of young
women surveyed said they could usually go
outside for daily exercise.805
799 Kennedy, E (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 201213, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
800 Ibid.
801 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
802 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (2013) Learning from PPO
Investigations: End of life care, London: Prisons and Probation
Ombudsman
803 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2009) Annual Report 2007-08,
London: The Stationery Office
804 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
805 Kennedy, E (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 201213, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
82% of boys (15–18) reported visiting the gym
once or more a week.806
Prisoners engaged in working, training or
education generally have the most time
unlocked, with approximately nine hours on
a weekday. But there are exceptions to this—at
Lewes and Lincoln, inspectors found that unlock
time was less than six hours, even for a fully
employed prisoner.807
Many prisoners not fully employed spent
less than four hours out of their cells on a
weekday.808
The length of the evening association has
reduced significantly in 2012–13 in some prisons,
with people locked up for the night before 7pm.
This makes it very difficult to telephone family and
friends in the evenings. At Highpoint, people were
locked up at 6:45pm Monday to Thursday, and at
4:45pm on Friday and at weekends.809
Three-quarters of boys (15–18), and 94% of girls
said they had association every day.810
Only two of the establishments inspected in
2012–13 offered young people 10 hours a day
out of cell. In Werrington, no time was scheduled
for young people to exercise outdoors.811
In March 2010, 1,973 prison places did not
have in-cell sanitation or open access to toilet
facilities.812
A survey of prevalence in prison found HIV was
15 times higher than in the community.813
Investment in prison healthcare in 2011–12 stood
at £231.7 million, this has increased from £130
million in 2003–04.814
The daily prison food budget for 2013–14 was
£1.96 per person.815
11% of men were assessed as malnourished at
HMP Pentonville when they were admitted to the
prison.816
806 Figure 32, Ibid.
807 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
808 Ibid.
809 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
810 Kennedy, E (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 201213, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
811 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
812 Hansard HC, 7 December 2010, c204W
813 Prison Reform Trust and National AIDS Trust (2005) HIV and
Hepatitis in UK Prisons: Addressing Prisoners’ Healthcare Needs,
London: Prison Reform Trust
814 Hansard HC, 7 July 2011, c1341W
815 Hansard HC, 29 January 2014, c604W
816 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2014) Report on an unannounced
62
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Drugs and alcohol
Drugs
At the end of June 2014, 14% of men and
women in prison were serving sentences for
drug offences.817
There is a much wider group of prisoners
whose offence is in some way drug related.
66% of women and 38% of men in prison report
committing offences in order to get money to
buy drugs. 48% of women prisoners said they
committed their offence in order to support the drug
use of someone else, compared to 22% of men in
prison.818
Levels of drug use are high amongst offenders,
with the highest levels of use found amongst the
most prolific offenders. 64% of prisoners reported
having used drugs in the four weeks before
custody.819
In 30% of robberies reported to the 2012–13
Crime Survey for England and Wales, the
victim believed that the offender was under
the influence of drugs. 24% of victims of violent
crimes believed their attacker to be under the
influence of drugs.820
58% of women and 43% of men in prison report
having used Class A drugs in the four weeks
before custody.821
Rates of using heroin, cocaine or crack were
higher (44% to 35%) for prisoners sentenced
to less than one year than those serving longer
terms.822
Of those prisoners who had used heroin on a
daily basis, on average, women spent £50 per
day on heroin and men £30.823
Prisoners interviewed for the Surveying Prisoner
Crime Reduction study who had been taken into
care as a child were more likely to have used
drugs in the past year (84% compared with 67%
of those who were not taken into care).824
inspection of HMP Pentonville, London: HMIP
817 Table 1.3a, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender Management
Statistics quarterly, January to March 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
818 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
819 Ibid.
820 Table 3.10, Office for National Statistics (2014) Crime Statistics,
Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, Nature of Crime Tables
2012/13 - Violence, London: Home Office
821 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
822 Stewart, D. (2008) The problems and needs of newly sentenced
prisoners: results from a national survey, London: Ministry of Justice
823 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
824 Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics
and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
Prisoners were also more likely to have taken
drugs in the past year if they had experienced
abuse as a child (80% compared with 67%
of those who did not experience abuse) or
observed violence in the home (81% compared
with 64% of those who did not witness
violence).825
Almost one in five (19%) of the 3,489 prisoners
interviewed for the Surveying Prisoner Crime
Reduction study who had ever used heroin
reported first using heroin in prison. This means
that between 7% and 8% of all prisoners in the
sample started using heroin whilst in custody.826
24% of prisoners reported to the Prisons
Inspectorate that it was easy or very easy to get
drugs in their prison.827
Prisoners being held in large prisons find it
easier to get illegal drugs than those in small
prisons (38% compared to 26%). They are also
less likely to know who to contact to get help with
drug addiction.828
All prisoners are subject to random mandatory
drug tests (MDTs). In 2013–14, just 7% of the
prison population tested positive from random
mandatory drug tests.829 But a Home Office study
found that “mandatory drug testing results generally
underestimate the level of drug misuse as reported
by prisoners”.830
However, HM Inspectorate of Prisons reported
in 2013 that “MDT is no longer an accurate
measure of drug use in British prisons”, with
many diverted prescription drugs unable to
be detected.831 In 2011 they reported frequently
seeing MDT programme staff diverted to other
duties, resulting in a lack of timely target testing and
abandoned tests.832
Diverted medication is reported in the majority
of prisons inspected. This can result in problems
such as drug debts, bullying, unknown interactions
with other prescribed drugs and the risk of
overdose.833
825 Ibid.
826 Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics
and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
827 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office
828 Prison Reform Trust (2008) Titan prisons: a gigantic mistake,
London: Prison Reform Trust
829 Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management Service
Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum, London:
Ministry of Justice
830 Singleton, N. et al. (2005) The impact and effectiveness of
Mandatory Drugs Tests in prison, London: Home Office
831 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
832 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2011) Annual Report 2010-11,
London: The Stationery Office
833 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2012) Annual Report 2011-12,
London: The Stationery Office.
63
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
An average of 7% of adult prisoners said
they had developed a problem with diverted
medication in their current prison.834
49% of women and 29% of men in prison
reported needing help with a drug problem on
entry to prison.835
37% of women and 25% of men in prison
reported attending an accredited drugs
programme in custody. 52% of women and
33% of men reported receiving treatment (e.g.
methadone replacement) for drug or alcohol
problems in prison.836
Responsibility for substance misuse services
moved from NOMS to NHS England, with
commissioning responsibility coming into effect
from April 2013. The Prisons Inspectorate has
reported a welcome move towards more integrated
treatment provision and a positive focus on
recovery, including peer support and service user
engagement.837
£120.4 million was allocated in 2011–12 for all
drug treatment to adult prisoners. Investment
in the prisons integrated drug treatment system
increased from £39.9 million in 2009–10 to £44.5
million in both 2010–11 and 2011–12.838
The risk of death is strikingly acute in the first
and second weeks following release from
prison. Relative to the general population, male
prisoners are 29 times more likely to die during the
week following release, while female prisoners are
69 times more likely to die during this period. The
same study found that 59% of deaths following
release were drug related.839
Reconviction rates more than double for
prisoners who reported using drugs in the four
weeks before custody compared with prisoners
who had never used drugs (62% compared with
30%).840
Analysis shows that drug treatment programmes
in prison, especially psycho-social programmes
and therapeutic communities, were associated
with a 26% reduction in criminal behaviour.841
834 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
835 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
836 Ibid.
837 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
838 Hansard HC, 7 July 2011, c1341W
839 Farrell, M. and Marsden, J. (2005) Drug-related mortality among
newly released offenders 1998 to 2000, Home Office online report
40/05, London: Home Office
840 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
841 National Offender Management Service (2010) What works with
offenders who misuse drugs?, London: Ministry of Justice
A Ministry of Justice study of longer-sentenced
prisoners found that people enrolled on
accredited programmes which aim to address
offending behaviour and reduce drug or alcohol
use were more likely to be in employment
shortly after release—34% compared with 25%
who were not on a programme.842
Offenders who receive residential drug
treatment are 43% less likely to reoffend after
release than comparable offenders receiving
prison sentences.843
Men who return to live with their partners are
less likely to relapse to substance misuse
and reoffend, while the opposite is true for
women.844 Women prisoners are more likely to be in
relationships with partners who use drugs, commit
crime and trigger relapse and reoffending.845
Alcohol
In almost half (49%) of all violent crimes the
victim believed the offender or offenders to be
under the influence of alcohol.846
38% of people surveyed in prison believed that
their drinking was a big problem, with 70%
saying that they had been drinking when they
committed the offence for which they were in
prison.847
Of prisoners who reported consuming alcohol
in the previous year, more men (87%) reported
drinking alcohol in the four weeks before custody
compared with women (75%). Of those prisoners
who reported drinking in the four weeks before
custody, 32% said they drank on a daily basis.848
The proportion of the general UK population
who reported drinking on a daily basis during
the previous year was considerably lower than
amongst prisoners—16% of men and 10% of
women.849
842 Table 4.9, Brunton-Smith, I. and Hopkins, K. (2014) The impact of
experience in prison on the employment status of longer-sentenced
prisoners after release, London: Ministry of Justice
843 Matrix Knowledge Group (2007) The economic case for and
against prison, London: Matrix Knowledge Group
844 Walitzer, K. and Dearing, R. (2006) Gender differences in alcohol
and substance misuse relapse. Clinical Psychology Review, 26, cited in
Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse and
mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
845 Hollin, C. R. and Palmer, E. J. (2006) Criminogenic need and
women offenders: a critique of literature. Legal and Criminological
Psychology, 11, and, Hser, Y. I., Huang, D., Teruya, C. and Anglin, M
D. (2003) Gender comparisons of drug abuse treatment outcomes and
predictors. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 72(3), cited in Ministry of
Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse and mental
health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
846 Table 3.10, Office for National Statistics (2014) Crime Statistics,
Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, Nature of Crime Tables
2012/13 - Violence, London: Home Office
847 Alcohol and Crime Commission (2014) The Alcohol and Crime
Commission Report, London: Addaction
848 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
849 Ibid.
64
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Men and women prisoners who reported
drinking daily, drank an average of 20 units per
day. This was equivalent to drinking four bottles of
wine or ten pints of beer in a single day.850
54% of surveyed prisoners with alcohol
problems also reported a problem with drugs,
and 44% said they had emotional or mental
health issues in addition to their alcohol
problems. The correlation with emotional or mental
health problems was especially pronounced among
the women surveyed.851
Almost a third (32%) of the prisoners who said
that they had a family member with an alcohol
problem drank every day in the four weeks prior
to custody.852
22% of prisoners who reported drinking in the
four weeks before custody reported needing
help for an alcohol problem. Nearly half of
those (46%) who drank in the four weeks before
custody reported having some concern about their
drinking.853
Of the prisons inspected in 2010–11, the
Inspectorate found that 88% had drug strategies
in place and 75% had either a combined or
separate alcohol strategy.854
The Inspectorate found that at every stage in
prison, the needs of prisoners with alcohol
problems are less likely to be either assessed
or met than those with illicit drug problems.
Services for alcohol users were very limited,
particularly for those who did not also use illicit
drugs.855
76% of 267 people in prison surveyed by the
Alcohol and Crime Commission knew about
support available in prison for those with alcohol
problems.856
In general a lower percentage of female
prisoners were aware of support for their
alcohol problems. 27% of women had no
knowledge of support available compared to 23%
of men. Fewer reported being offered help whilst
in prison (42% of women compared with 60% of
men).858
Only 42% of people surveyed said they knew
of support available in the community and 40%
were informed about help available for their
drinking problems upon release.859
According to surveys conducted by HM
Inspectorate of Prisons, 26% of the local and
23% of the young adult prison populations
believed they would leave with an alcohol
problem.860
People who drank daily before custody
had a higher rate of reconviction, with 62%
reconvicted within a year after release
compared to those who drank less (49%).
These prisoners were also less likely to have been
employed during the same period than those who
drank less frequently (24% compared with 34%).861
According to the Home Office, in 2009 misuse
of alcohol and irresponsible drinking result
in economic and social costs in the region of
£12–18 billion per year.862
44% of young adults (18–24) are binge drinkers.
27% of binge drinkers admitted committing an
offence in 2005, compared with 13% of drinkers
who did not binge.863
Children who have begun binge drinking by the
age of 16 are 90% more likely to have criminal
convictions by the age of 30.864
58% of people surveyed said they had been
offered support for their alcohol problems inside
prison. However, despite the majority being aware
of the support in place only 22% found this support
‘very helpful’.857
850 Ibid.
851 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2010) Alcohol services in prisons:
an unmet need, London: The Stationery Office
852 Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics
and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
853 Ministry of Justice (2013) Gender differences in substance misuse
and mental health amongst prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
854 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2011) Annual Report 2010-11,
London: The Stationery Office
855 Ibid.
856 Alcohol and Crime Commission (2014) The Alcohol and Crime
Commission Report, London: Addaction
857 Ibid.
858 Ibid.
859 Ibid.
860 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2011) Annual Report 2010-11,
London: The Stationery Office
861 Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics
and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
862 Home Office (2009) Home Office Departmental Report 2009,
London: The Stationery Office
863 Home Office, Alcohol-related crime and disorder, 2005
864 Viner, R. M. and Taylor, B. (2007) Adult outcomes of binge drinking
in adolescence: findings from a UK national birth cohort, J Epidemiol
Community Health 2007; 61
65
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Housing and employment
Housing
than 13 weeks. This means that many prisoners have
very little chance of keeping their tenancy open until
the end of their sentence and lose their housing.
In 2012, 15% of newly sentenced prisoners
reported being homeless before custody. 9%
were sleeping rough. 44% of prisoners reported
living in their accommodation prior to custody for
less than a year and 28% had lived there for less
than six months.865
37% of newly sentenced prisoners stated that
they would need help finding a place to live
when released.873
11% of prisoners released from custody in 2013–
14 had no settled accommodation.866 A recent
Criminal Justice Joint Inspection report stated that
accommodation figures collated by prisons are
“misleading” as “they do not take into account the
suitability or sustainability of the accommodation to
which they were released.”867
The Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction
survey found that prisoners who reported being
homeless before custody were more likely to be
reconvicted upon release than prisoners who
didn’t report being homeless—79% compared to
47% in the first year and 84% compared to 60% in
the second year after release.875
57% of prisoners interviewed for the Surveying
Prisoner Crime Reduction survey reported living
with immediate family shortly after release,
whilst 16% were homeless or living in temporary
accommodation.868
Those who had been in their accommodation
for less than a year were also more likely to be
reconvicted than those who had been in their
accommodation for more than a year—52%
compared to 43% in the first year and 67%
compared to 57% in the second year after release.876
Those who lived with their family were less likely
to re-offend within one year (48% compared with
61%).869
People reporting they would be homeless or
living in temporary accommodation had a higher
chance of re-offending. 66% went on to re-offend,
compared with 51% of those who were not living
with immediate family members.870
Local authorities have a statutory duty to assist
homeless and vulnerable ex-offenders in some
circumstances. However, changes introduced by
the Localism Act 2011 mean that authorities have
more discretion to exclude certain applicants from
their housing registers. This could make it more
difficult for people with a history of anti-social
behaviour to access social housing.871
12% of prisoners depend on housing benefit to
help with their rent before they enter custody.872
However, entitlement to housing benefit stops for all
sentenced prisoners expected to be in prison for more
865 Ministry of Justice (2012) Accommodation, homelessness and
reoffending of prisoners, London: Ministry of Justice
866 Table 15, Ministry of Justice (2014) NOMS Annual Report 2013/14:
Management Information Addendum, London: Ministry of Justice
867 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2014) Resettlement provision
for adult offenders: Accommodation and education, training and
employment, London: HMIP
868 Brunton-Smith, I and Hopkins, K (2014) The factors associated
with proven re-offending following release from prison: findings from
Waves 1 to 3 of SPCR, London: Ministry of Justice
869 Ibid.
870 Ibid.
871 Wilson, W. (2014) Housing ex-offenders (England), London: House
of Commons Library
872 Stewart, D. (2008) The problems and needs of newly sentenced
prisoners: results from a national survey, London: Ministry of Justice
60% of prisoners reported that having a place to
live would help them stop reoffending.874
75% of ‘prolific and other priority offenders’
were found to have a housing need compared to
30% for the general offender population.877
35% of young people aged 16–25 felt a lack of
accommodation was the factor most likely to
make them offend.878
46% of homeless people surveyed across six
UK cities had been in prison or a young offender
institution, first occurring on average aged 21.879
According to Citizens Advice, a lack of
accommodation can also severely hinder former
prisoners’ chances of finding employment.
Almost one quarter of employers would not
consider employing a homeless person.880
Getting ex-prisoners into stable housing can act
as a gateway to effective resettlement. Home
Office research has found that prisoners who have
accommodation arranged on release are four times
more likely to have employment, education or
training arranged than those who don’t.881
873 Ministry of Justice (2012) Research Summary 3/12,
Accommodation, homelessness and reoffending of prisoners, London:
Ministry of Justice
874 Ibid.
875 Ibid.
876 Ibid.
877 Homeless Link (2009) Criminal justice policy briefing, London:
Homeless Link
878 Ibid.
879 Fitzpatrick, S. et al. (2010) Multiple exclusion homelessness across
the UK: A quantitative survey, London: Heriot-Watt University
880 Citizens Advice (2007) Locked Out: CAB evidence on prisoners
and ex-offenders, London: Citizens Advice
881 Niven, S. and Stewart, D. (2005) Resettlement outcomes on
66
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Employment
On 4 July 2013 the Justice Secretary announced
that 70 prisons across England and Wales will
become resettlement prisons. The intention is
that the vast majority of prisoners are released
from prisons in, or close to, the area they will live.
Service providers in the community will work with
prisoners at an early stage to arrange employment
and training, and tackle drug and alcohol
addictions.882
32% of prisoners interviewed for the Surveying
Prisoner Crime Reduction study reported being
in paid employment in the four weeks before
custody. 13% reported never having had a job.883
37% of prisoners did not expect to return to
their jobs upon release. A quarter of these job
losses were because of a reason connected with
offending (being sent to prison or because of their
criminal record).884
Prisoners who reported having been employed
at some point in the year before custody were
less likely to be reconvicted in the year after
release than those who weren’t (40% compared
with 65%).885
A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel
and Development found that ex-offenders are
the most disadvantaged of all the labour market.
In 2010 only 12% of employers surveyed said
that they had employed somebody with a criminal
record in the past three years.886
Around one in five employers (19%) said they did
exclude or were likely to exclude them from the
recruitment process.887 In 2005, more than one in
three (37%) employers said that they deliberately
exclude those with a criminal record when recruiting
staff.888
48% of prisoners interviewed for the Surveying
Prisoner Crime Reduction survey reported
needing help with finding a job on release, with
34% reporting needing a lot of help.889
release from prison, Home Office Findings 248, London: Home Office;
Home Office (2001) Jobs and Homes - a survey of prisoners nearing
release, Findings 173, London: Home Office
882 Ministry of Justice (2013) 70 resettlement prisons announced for
England and Wales. Ministry of Justice website available at
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-resettlement-prisonsannounced-for-england-and-wales
883 Ministry of Justice (2012) The pre-custody employment, training
and education status of newly sentenced prisoners, London: Ministry
of Justice
884 Ibid.
885 Ibid.
886 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2010)
Disadvantaged Groups in the Labour Market, London: CIPD
887 Ibid.
888 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Labour Market
Outlook, Summer 2005
889 Ministry of Justice (2012) The pre-custody employment, training
Prison Inspectorate surveys show that relatively
few prisoners knew who to contact for help in
finding a job. With the exception of open prisons,
between 43% and 52% of prisoners believed they
would have problems finding a job on release.890
68% of prisoners thought that ‘having a job’ was
important in stopping reoffending.891
In 2013–14, just 25% of prisoners entered
employment on release from prison.892
A report published in 2012 on the resettlement
of fathers with their families showed that fewer
fathers were employed after prison (34%)
compared to before prison (55%). The fathers’
income had also decreased from before to after
prison by over £100 per week.893
Nearly 80% of people released from prison
in 2010–11 made at least one benefit claim
during that period. They were most likely to claim
Jobseeker’s Allowance, with 62% making at least
one claim at some point in the two year period.894
Only 6% of people leaving prison and referred
to the Work Programme have found a job which
they have held for a period of six months or
more since the scheme began.895
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of
Offenders Act 2012 has reformed the Rehabilitation
of Offenders Act 1974 by extending the maximum
sentence that can become “spent” from 30 months
to four years and significantly reducing the period
before which fines, community orders and short
custodial sentences become spent.
and education status of newly sentenced prisoners, London: Ministry
of Justice
890 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2011) Annual Report 2010-11,
London: The Stationery Office
891 Ministry of Justice (2012) The pre-custody employment, training
and education status of newly sentenced prisoners, London: Ministry
of Justice
892 Table 12, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum,
London: Ministry of Justice
893 Losel, F. et al. (2012) Risk and protective factors in the
resettlement of imprisoned fathers with their families, Cambridge:
University of Cambridge and Ormiston
894 Ministry of Justice (2014) Experimental statistics from the 2013
MoJ /DWP /HMRC data share: Linking data on offenders with benefit,
employment and income data, London: Ministry of Justice
895 Supplementary Table 2.9, Department for Work and Pensions
(2014) Work Programme Official Statistics to March 2014, London:
DWP
67
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Education and skills
In 2012, 47% of prisoners said that they had no
qualifications.896
21% of prisoners reported needing help with
reading and writing or numeracy, 41% with
education, and 40% to improve work-related
skills.897
Educational attainment at GCSE level at grades
A–C was similar amongst prisoners and the
general population, although this may be due
to prison education programmes. Around 5%
of prisoners were educated to a level higher than
A–levels, with approximately 3% having university
degrees. In 2003, the percentage of the population
of working age in the UK holding a degree was
approximately 16%.898
42% of prisoners had been expelled or
permanently excluded from school.899
The educational background of children in custody
is poor: 86% of boys and all of the girls surveyed
by the Youth Justice Board said they had been
excluded from school. More than a third of boys
(37%) and nearly two-thirds of girls (65%) said they
had not been at school since they were 14.900
63% of offenders who had been expelled
or permanently excluded from school were
reconvicted for an offence within a year,
compared with 44% of offenders who were not.901
Prisoners who reported having a qualification
were less likely to be reconvicted in the year
after release from custody (45% compared
to 60%) than those who reported having no
qualifications.902
People who received grants from the Prisoners
Education Trust (PET) to fund educational
courses or purchase learning materials had
a one year reoffending rate of between five
and eight percentage points lower than those
in a matched group of offenders who had not
received a PET grant.903
896 Ministry of Justice (2012) The pre-custody employment, training
and education status of newly sentenced prisoners, London: Ministry
of Justice
897 Ibid.
898 Ibid.
899 Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics,
London: Ministry of Justice
900 Kennedy, E (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 201213, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
901 Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics
and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
902 Ministry of Justice (2012) The pre-custody employment, training
and education status of newly sentenced prisoners, London: Ministry
of Justice
903 Ministry of Justice (2013) Justice Data Lab Re‐offending Analysis:
Prisoners Education Trust, London: Ministry of Justice
Prisoners who had attended vocational training
in prison were more likely to secure employment
shortly after release.904 Ofsted said in its most recent
report on education in prisons: “The most effective
provision was vocational training where the prison
worked in close partnership with employers.”905
During 2013–14, 16.6% of people released
from prison went into education and training,
compared with 17.5% the year before.906
The National Audit Office has found that only
around a fifth of prisoners with serious literacy
or numeracy needs enrol on a course that would
help them.907
From the beginning of the 2014–15 academic
year, the government is introducing a mandatory
assessment of education needs for all prisoners
entering prison.908
HM Inspectorate of Prisons reported in 2013
the worst outcomes for purposeful activity for
prisoners in six years: “The quantity and quality of
purposeful activity in which prisoners are engaged
plummeted over the year. Put simply, too many
prisoners spend too long locked in their cells with
nothing constructive to do, and when they are
in classes or work, these are often of insufficient
quality.”909
None of the 38 prisons inspected during 2012–13
received an overall outstanding judgement for the
quality of teaching. 39% required improvement
with a further 18% rated as inadequate.910
Ofsted judged leadership and management of
learning and skills and work to be inadequate or
requiring improvement in over half (58%) of the
38 prison reports published by HM Inspectorate
of Prisons in 2012–13. Ofsted stated: “Very few
prisoners are getting the opportunity to develop the
skills and behaviours they need for work. Despite
some prisons having state of the art facilities, the
quality of training and education is not good enough
in about two thirds of the prisons inspected in the
past four years.”911
904 Brunton-Smith, I. and Hopkins, K (2014) The impact of experience
in prison on the employment status of longer-sentenced prisoners after
release, London: Ministry of Justice
905 Ofsted (2013) The report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of
Education, Children’s Services and Skills: Further education and Skills
2012/13, London: Ofsted
906 Table 16, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service Annual Report 2013-14: Management Information Addendum,
London: Ministry of Justice
907 National Audit Office (2008) Meeting needs? The Offenders’
Learning and Skills Service, London: The Stationery Office
908 National Offender Management Service (2014) Annual Report and
Accounts 2013/14, London: Ministry of Justice and HC Hansard, 6 May
2014, c84W
909 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office.
910 Ofsted (2013) The report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of
Education, Children’s Services and Skills: Further education and Skills
2012/13, London: Ofsted
911 Ibid.
68
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
A Joint Inspectorate report in 2013 found that
new arrangements for providing education
within prison, under the Offender Learning and
Skills Service (OLASS) contract, had significantly
reduced the available options for life sentenced
prisoners. Only ‘training in skills for life’ was
available to life sentenced prisoners prior to the last
two years before release and, although distance
learning was still an option, it was much less widely
available than previously.912
Nearly three–quarters (74%) of Prison Governors
and managers who responded to a Prison
Reform Trust and PET survey agreed that
prisoners should have access to the internet.919
A4E, the provider of the OLASS contract across
12 London prisons has terminated its contract
early, citing a lack of profitability.913
Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) are
contracted to provide around 25 hours
of educational, developmental and other
productive activity for young people. However,
the government acknowledged in 2013 that young
offenders spend on average just 12 hours a week in
education.921
In a survey by the Prisoners’ Education Trust
(PET) of 343 prisoners, 70% of respondents said
that “improving employability” was a motivating
factor in learning, particularly for those under 30.
Nearly 80% of respondents felt that learning had
improved their “outlook on life” and just under
three quarters noted improved “self-discipline”
and “communication skills”. Importantly these
are exactly the personal skills which employers are
looking for when considering hiring ex-offenders,
according to a report by CfBT Education Trust.914
Of the 20% of survey respondents with no
qualifications before entering prison, only 7%
reported not having gained any qualifications whilst
in prison. With 59% achieving ‘level 2’ qualifications
and just under a quarter (24%) gaining ‘level 3’.915
43% of those surveyed with a degree and 41%
of prisoners with A–levels before entering prison
took level 1 qualifications whilst there, whilst
70% with a previous degree and 68% with A–
levels took qualifications at level 2—meaning
they had regressed to levels below ones which they
had already achieved.916
Over 100 prisons in England & Wales now have
the Virtual Campus, a secure web based IT
platform which provides education, training and
employment resources to people in prison.917
However, most respondents surveyed by PET felt
that access and support was poor; 83% said it is
not easily accessible within their prison and 87%
said that prison staff did not support and encourage
prisoners to use it.918
912 Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2013) A Joint Inspection of Life
Sentenced Prisoners, London: HM Inspectorate of Probation
913 Gentleman, A. (2014) A4e ends £17m prisoner education contract
citing budget constraints, Guardian online, available at
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/aug/13/a4e-terminatesprisoner-education-training-contract
914 Taylor, C (2014) Brain Cells: Third Edition, Surrey: Prisoners’
Education Trust and Inside Time (2012) Prisoners Education Trust
Survey, Inside Time May 2012
915 Taylor, C (2014) Brain Cells: Third Edition, Surrey: Prisoners’
Education Trust
916 Ibid.
917 Champion, N. and Edgar, K. (2013) Through the Gateway: How
computers can transform rehabilitation, London: Prison Reform Trust
918 Taylor, C (2014) Brain Cells: Third Edition, Surrey: Prisoners’
Prisoners surveyed by PET were asked what
would have made their learning easier—72%
said that better access to a computer for word
processing, and 71% said access to e-learning
for online courses and resources.920
The government plans to introduce secure
colleges for under-18s. New education
contracts for YOIs which will provide 30 hours
of education per week for all young people are
currently out for competition.922
90% of boys surveyed by HM Inspectorate of
Prisons said they were involved in some kind of
purposeful activity at the time of the survey. 79%
said they were in education, 28% had a job in the
establishment, and 18% were in vocational or skills
training.923
Two-thirds (66%) of young people who had
been involved in education, 55% of those who
had had a job, 53% of those who had been
involved in vocational training and 52% of those
who had been involved in offending behaviour
programmes thought these would help them on
release.924
Education Trust
919 Champion, N. and Edgar, K. (2013) Through the Gateway: How
computers can transform rehabilitation, London: Prison Reform Trust.
920 Taylor, C (2014) Brain Cells: Third Edition, Surrey: Prisoners’
Education Trust
921 Hansard HL, 10 December 2013, 110WA and Ministry of
Justice website, accessed on 26 August 2014, https://www.gov.uk/
government/news/young-criminals-must-be-punished-but-educationis-the-cure
922 National Offender Management Service (2014) Business Plan
2014-2015, London: Ministry of Justice
923 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
924 Kennedy, E (2013) Children and Young People in Custody 201213, London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons
69
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Financial exclusion
A 2010 study of prisoners’ financial needs,
conducted for the Department for Work and
Pensions, found that almost three-quarters of
prisoners surveyed rated finance, benefits and
debt as a very significant resettlement need,
second only to accommodation.925
Surveyed prisoners said that their main debts
included social fund loans, court fines, debts to
families and friends, catalogue or mobile phone
companies, and rent. Debts were often made
worse by time in prison, for example when direct
debits were not stopped or when tenancies were
not closed.926
Between one-fifth and one-third of prisoners
surveyed by the Prisons Inspectorate believed
they would experience difficulties with their
finances and claiming benefits after release.927
Many prisons provide money management or
budgeting courses through their education
department and almost half of the prisons
inspected in 2010–11 gave prisoners the
opportunity to open bank accounts.928
As part of their work to develop access to
banking services for people in prison before
release, UNLOCK has helped to set up 74 prison
banking programmes, with 114 prisons having
links with a high-street bank.929
Almost three-quarters (72%) of prisoners
interviewed for a 2010 report by Prison Reform
Trust and UNLOCK said they had not been
asked about their finances. A third said they did
not have a bank account, and of these, 31% had
never had one.930
Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Prison Governors
and managers who responded to a Prison
Reform Trust and PET survey agreed that
prisoners should have access to the internet.931
925 Figure C.5, Meadows, L. et al (2010) Investigating the Prisoner
Finance Gap across four prisons in the North East, London: DWP
926 Ibid.
927 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2011) Annual Report 2010-11,
London: The Stationery Office
928 Ibid.
929 UNLOCK (2014) Unlocking Banking: Developing effective, efficient
& secure access to banking for people in prison before release, Kent:
Unlock
930 Bath, C. and Edgar, K. (2010) Time is Money: Financial
responsibility after prison, London: Prison Reform Trust
931 Champion, N. and Edgar, K. (2013) Through the Gateway: How
computers can transform rehabilitation, London: Prison Reform Trust.
48% of people in prison have a history of
debt.932 In a survey of prison outreach services
run by Citizens Advice, all respondents said that
debt is one of the top five issues that can cause
reoffending or poor reintegration into society.933
40% of prisoners and 64% of former prisoners
felt that their debts had worsened during their
sentence. Over half of prisoners’ families have had
to borrow money since the imprisonment of their
relative.934
More than half of people in prison said that they
had been rejected for a bank loan and 8% said
they had tried to borrow from a loan shark (a
rate over 10 times higher than the average UK
household).935
Although less than a third of prisoners were
unsure about managing their money, more than
half were unsure, or very unsure, about dealing
with banks.936
Only 5% of people in prison said they had been
asked about how their families would cope
financially while in prison.937
One significant area of need for people leaving
prison is insurance.938 All sentenced prisoners
leave custody with an unspent conviction, while
they are still in their ‘rehabilitation period’. This
typically ranges from two years plus a ‘buffer’
period of one year following a sentence of less
than six months, to forever for prison sentences
over four years.939 Non-disclosure is illegal, and will
invalidate insurance or lead to prosecution.
Over four in five former prisoners surveyed
said their conviction made it harder to get
insurance and four-fifths said that when they
did get insurance, they were charged more. The
inability to obtain insurance can prevent access to
mortgages and many forms of employment or selfemployment.940
932 National Offender Management Service (2007) Signposting
Offenders to Financial Capability Training, Debt Advice and Financial
Services, London: Ministry of Justice
933 Citizens’ Advice Bureau (2007) Locked Out: CAB evidence on
prisoners and ex-offenders, London: Citizens Advice
934 Bath, C. and Edgar, K. (2010) Time is Money: Financial
responsibility after prison, London: Prison Reform Trust
935 Ibid.
936 Ibid.
937 Ibid.
938 UNLOCK (2008) Unlocking Insurance, issues and evidence, Kent:
UNLOCK. See also, Bath, C. (2008) Time served: unlocking insurance
to help reintegrate offenders into society, The Chartered Insurance
Institute
939 Ministry of Justice website, accessed on 25 August 2014,
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/reforms-to-help-reducereoffending-come-into-force
940 Bath, C. and Edgar, K. (2010) Time is Money: Financial
responsibility after prison, London: Prison Reform Trust
70
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A Cabinet Office study found that 28% of women
offenders’ crimes were financially motivated,
compared to 20% of crimes committed by
men.941
Almost two-thirds of prisoners surveyed (64%)
said they had claimed benefits during the 12
months before they went to prison. Those who
reported having claimed benefits were more likely
to be reconvicted (58% compared with 41%) than
those who did not report having claimed benefits.942
People released from prison are more likely
to be claiming benefits than other offenders.
Over a half (54%) of people released from prison
were claiming out-of-work benefits one month
afterwards, with 42% still claiming benefits two
years after release.943
The amount of discharge grant has remained
fixed at £46 since 1997.944 According to Citizens
Advice: “this amount is insufficient to last for
a week, let alone the 11 to 18 days which are
the target benefit claim processing times.”945 A
recommendation to close this ‘benefit gap’ was
made to the Prime Minister by the Social Exclusion
Unit in 2002.946
In 2013–14, just 25% of prisoners entered
employment on release from prison.947 Since
February 2012, all prison leavers claiming
jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) must be referred to the
Work Programme. Prisoners are entitled to submit a
claim for JSA up to five weeks before release.
Only 6% of people leaving prison and referred
to the Work Programme have found a job which
they have held for a period of six months or
more since the scheme began.948
941 Cabinet Office Social Exclusion Task Force (2009) Short Study
on Women Offenders, London: Cabinet Office. Note: evidence from
analysis of Offender Assessment System data
942 Ministry of Justice (2010) Compendium of reoffending statistics
and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
943 Ministry of Justice (2014) Experimental statistics from the 2013
MoJ /DWP /HMRC data share: Linking data on offenders with benefit,
employment and income data, London: Ministry of Justice
944 Prison Service Instruction 72/2011 Discharge, Annex B
945 Citizens’ Advice Bureau (2007) Locked Out: CAB evidence on
prisoners and ex-offenders, London: Citizens Advice
946 Social Exclusion Unit (2002) Reducing reoffending by ex-prisoners,
London: Social Exclusion Unit
947 Table 12, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service Annual Report 2013-14: Management Information Addendum,
London: Ministry of Justice
948 Supplementary Table 2.9, Department for Work and Pensions
(2014) Work Programme Official Statistics to March 2014, London:
DWP
71
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Prison work and volunteering
Employment
At present some 9,900 prisoners are employed
in industrial workshops across the prison estate,
engaged in a wide range of activity from printing
to commercial laundry, textile production,
manufacturing and distribution. In 2013–14 they
worked in total for 14.2 million hours, an increase
from 13.1 million hours the year before.949
The National Offender Management Service
aims to increase the number of employed
prisoners to at least 18,000 by 2021.950 Even at
that higher number, only around 20% of the prison
population would be employed.
Many prisoners are also employed in support of
the prison, including in the kitchens and doing
domestic work.951 A Ministry of Justice survey of
prisoners found that only 53% reported having
had paid work in prison. Nearly one in three of
them worked as cleaners.952
However, the most recent Annual Report of HM
Chief Inspector of Prisons found that purposeful
activity outcomes for prisoners were poor or
not satisfactory in over half of prisons they
inspected—the lowest in six years. “We have
also seen little progress in making prisons places
of realistic preparation for work. For example, there
was too little relevant employment-related work
and insufficient attention given to time-keeping and
attendance. Few prisons offered realistic working
days and hours.”953
The Prisoners’ Earnings Act 1996 commenced on
26 September 2011. It enables prison governors to
impose a levy of up to and including 40% on wages
over £20 per week (after tax, national insurance,
any court ordered payments and any child support
payments) of prisoners who are allowed to work
outside of prison on temporary licence. Amounts
raised by the levy are currently directed to Victim
Support.954
949 Table 20, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum,
London: Ministry of Justice
950 Ministry of Justice (2012) National Offender Management Service
Annual Report 2011/12: Management Information Addendum, London:
Ministry of Justice
951 Ibid.
Note: This type of work is not included in the above figures
952 Hopkins, K., and Brunton-Smith, I. (2014) Prisoners’ experience
of prison and outcomes on release: Waves 2 and 3 of SPCR, London:
Ministry of Justice
953 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (2013) Annual Report 2012-13,
London: The Stationery Office
954 Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management Service
Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum, London:
Ministry of Justice
During 2013–14, there were a total of 1,155
people, on average 392 per month, working
out of the prison on licence and subject to the
Prisoners’ Earnings Act levy.955
People subject to the levy paid on average £220
per month, contributing over £1.03 million during
2013–14 and over £2.2 million since it started.
People earned £550 per month on average after
deduction of the levy.956
A one-off survey of prisoner pay was conducted
in 2007 and found that the average rate of pay
for activity inside prisons was £9.60 per week.957
The government don’t record average earnings of
people in prison centrally.958
Training and peer-support
According to a survey undertaken by the Prison
Reform Trust in 2010–11, most prisons provide
at least some opportunities for active citizenship
among prisoners. 95% have race representatives,
89% have Samaritan Listeners and 72% have
suicide prevention representatives.959
84% of prisons have prison-wide consultations
in the form of committees or a prison council.960
St Giles Trust offers training and a recognised
qualification to prisoners who deliver housing
advice in a number of prisons. The Toe by Toe
reading plan run by the Shannon Trust enable
prisoners to act as peer mentors to support other
prisoners who are learning to read.961
47% of male local prisons and 75% of open
prisons provide opportunities for peer drug
support. Among the seven prisons for women
responding to the survey only one provided
opportunities for prisoners to give peer support for
drug misusers.962
The National Grid offender training and
employment programme works with people
coming to the end of their sentences and provides
training and a job on release for those selected.
The Programme is linked with over 20 prisons and
over 2,000 prisoners have completed the scheme
which has a reoffending rate of just 6%.963
955 Ibid.
956 Ibid.
957 Hansard HC, 21 November 2011, c175W
958 Hansard HC, 7 May 2014, c205W
959 Table 2.1, Edgar, K. et al. (2011) Time Well Spent: A practical guide
to active citizenship and volunteering in prison, London: Prison Reform
Trust
960 Clinks (2011) Service User Involvement: A Review of service user
involvement in prisons and probation trusts, London: Clinks
961 Clinks (2011) Service User Involvement: A Review of service user
involvement in prisons and probation trusts, London: Clinks
962 Ibid.
963 National Grid website, accessed on 22 August 2014, http://www2.
nationalgrid.com/UK/Young-offender-programme/Overview/ and
72
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Timpson actively recruit ex-offenders to work
for them. It has set up a full time training facility at
HMP Liverpool and HMP Blantyre House in Kent,
and the women’s prison HMP New Hall. It also runs
prison industries in three prisons: Forest Bank for
shoe repairs, Thorn Cross for DVD transfers and
a dry cleaning factory at Blantyre House. It also
employs prisoners on ROTL who work in the day
and return to prison in the evening.964
The Clink Charity operates restaurants at HMPs
High Down, Cardiff, and Brixton in partnership
with the Prison Service, and plans to open a
fourth at HMP Styal, its first women’s prison,
in 2015. It offers prisoners the chance to gain
experience and qualifications in the food and
hospitality industry, with mentoring and guidance to
find full-time employment, and provide resettlement
support upon release.965
The Samaritans’ Listener Scheme is active in
almost every prison across the UK. In 2013
there were around 1,600 Listeners in place.
Listeners play an invaluable role in making prisons
safer by being there for other prisoners who might
be struggling to cope, helping them to talk about
their worries and try to find a positive way forward.
Listeners were contacted more than 74,000 times
during 2013.966
In 2011 there were at least 245 voluntary
and community sector organisations, social
enterprises and charities which support the
rehabilitation of offenders in prisons, and
79 private sector organisations supporting
rehabilitation activities in prison.967
There is considerable scope to develop more
opportunities for taking personal responsibility
through volunteering, peer support,
representation and prisoner councils.968
http://www2.nationalgrid.com/Media/UK-Press-releases/2011/2000thperson-goes-through-the-National-Grid-led-Young-OffenderProgramme/
964 Inside Time, December 2012, available at
http://www.insidetime.co.uk/backissues/December%202012.pdf
965 The Clink Charity website, accessed on 16 October 2014,
http://theclinkrestaurant.com/
966 Statistics provided by Samaritans
967 Hansard HC, 4 July 2011 c1021W
968 Edgar, K. et al. (2011) Time Well Spent: A practical guide to active
citizenship and volunteering in prison, London: Prison Reform Trust
73
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Ministry of Justice compliance
In March 2004 in a case brought by life
sentenced prisoner, John Hirst, the European
Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the
ban on sentenced prisoners voting violated
Article Three of the European Convention on
Human Rights. Following an appeal by the UK
Government in 2005, the Grand Chamber of the
ECtHR ruled that there had been a violation of
Article 3 of Protocol No. 1. The Prison Reform
Trust lodged several formal complaints with the
Council of Europe about the UK Government’s noncompliance with these rulings.969
The cross-party Voting Eligibility (Prisoners)
Draft Bill Committee’s final report recommended
prisoners serving sentences of less than 12
months and those in the last six months of
their sentence should be allowed to take
part in elections. Despite a commitment by the
government to respond in early 2014, there has
been no published response.970
On 12 August 2014, the ECtHR in the case of
Firth and Others v. the UK upheld its earlier
ruling that a blanket ban was in breach of their
human rights. The Court did not however award
compensation.971
Prisoners with learning disabilities and
difficulties are discriminated against personally,
systemically and routinely as they enter and
travel through the criminal justice system.972
Criminal justice staff and those responsible for
providing services are failing in their duty to
promote equality of opportunity and to eliminate
discrimination. As such they are not complying with
the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act
and the Disability Equality Duty in particular.
On 1 September 2011 the Corporate
Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act was
extended to include prisoners. The Act set out a
new offence for convicting an organisation where a
gross failure in the way activities were managed or
organised results in a person’s death in custody.
969 http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/PressPolicy/News/
Votingandcitizenship
970 Joint Committee on the Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill
(2013) Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill Report, London: The
Stationery Office and ‘Prisoners serving less than a year should get the
vote’, BBC News Online, 18 December 2013
971 European Court of Human Rights (2014), accessed on 16
October 2014, http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.
aspx?i=001-146101
972 Loucks, N. (2007) No One Knows: Offenders with Learning
Difficulties and Learning Disabilities. Review of prevalence and
associated needs, London: Prison Reform Trust, and Jacobson, J.
(2008) No One Knows: Police responses to suspects with learning
disabilities and learning difficulties: a review of policy and practice,
London: Prison Reform Trust
Published in 2008, a five year follow-up report
by the National Offender Management Service
(NOMS) on race equality in the Prison Service
concluded that while the actions taken over
the preceding five years generated substantial
improvements, it acknowledged that the
experience of BME prisoners and staff had not
been transformed.973
Prisoners in large prisons were more likely to
say that they had been assaulted or insulted by
a member of staff or by another prisoner than
those held in small prisons.974
The National Tactical Response Group, a specialist
unit assisting in safely managing and resolving
serious incidents in prisons, was called out
151 times during the first nine months of 2013,
compared with 129 times throughout 2012.975
In 2012 a total of 7,301 mobile phones or SIM
cards were found in prisons and sent to the
Ministry of Justice Central Interrogation Unit.976
In 2013–14 there were just two escapes from
prison and two escapes from a prisoner
escort.977
Despite a small rise in the number of absconds
from prison to 225 in 2013–14,978 they have fallen
significantly over the last 10 years from 1,300 in
2003–04.979
In 2012, there were 485,000 releases on
temporary licence (ROTL) with 428 failures,
most for failure to return, late to return, or
other breach of licence. Only 26 involved the
person being arrested on suspicion of committing
an offence—this equates to five failures in every
100,000 releases.980
973 Ministry of Justice (2008) Race Review 2008, implementing
race equality in prisons – five years on, London: National Offender
Management Service
974 Prison Reform Trust (2008) Titan prisons: a gigantic mistake,
London: Prison Reform Trust
975 Hansard HC, 25 November 2013, c88W
976 Ministry of Justice, Freedom of Information request 89962
available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/
attachment_data/file/329255/recording-incidents-mobile-phones.doc
977 Table 1, Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management
Service Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum,
London: Ministry of Justice
978 Table 2, Ibid.
979 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison and Probation Trusts performance
statistics 2013-14: Prison performance digest 2013-14, London:
Ministry of Justice
980 Ministry of Justice (2014) Statistical Notice: Releases on
temporary licence, 2012, London: Ministry of Justice
74
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75
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Private prisons
The UK has the most privatised prison system in
Europe. In England and Wales there were 14,844
prisoners (18% of the prisoner population) held in
private prisons as at 26 September 2014.981
There are a total of 14 private prisons in England
and Wales.982
In 2012–13 the government spent £428m on
privately run prisons.983
On 1 October 2011, HMP Birmingham became
the first existing publicly run prison to be
contracted out to the private sector. The value
over the 15 year life of the contract is £453million.984
In the future, all publicly run prisons in England
and Wales will put out to tender resettlement,
maintenance, and other ancillary services
leaving the public sector operating custodial
functions. The National Offender Management
Service (NOMS) hope this will deliver an overall
reduction in spend over the financial years of 2013–
14 to 2015–16 in public sector prisons with ongoing
annual savings of £306m (15%).991 The total value
of this new market is estimated by G4S to be £1bn
per year.992
As of September 2014, HMP Doncaster was
overcrowded by 52%, the most overcrowded
privately-run prison.993
Overcrowded privately run prisons994
Prison
Private prison contracts are currently shared
between just three companies:985
G4S - Altcourse, Birmingham, Oakwood, Parc, and
Rye Hill.
Serco - Ashfield, Doncaster, Dovegate, Lowdham
Grange, and Thameside.
Sodexo - Bronzefield, Forest Bank,
Northumberland and Peterborough.
In England and Wales ten prisons are currently
financed, designed, built and operated by the
private sector on at least 25 year contracts.
Contracts for Doncaster, Birmingham, Oakwood
and Northumberland are for 15 years each.986
The management of HMP Wolds transferred from
G4S to the Prison Service on 1 July 2013. Wolds
had been privately run since opening in 1992.987
Sodexo has run HMP Northumberland since
December 2013.988 The prison is run under a
management contract valued at £250 million for
the merged Acklington and Castington prisons
which now has a capacity of 1,300 people.989
The government has estimated that the
privatisation of HMPs Birmingham and Oakwood
will lead to savings of £36 million over the
remaining years of the comprehensive spending
review period (2011–2015).990
981 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison Population Monthly Bulletin
September 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
982 HM Prison Service website, accessed on 3 September 2014,
https://www.justice.gov.uk/about/hmps/contracted-out
983 Whitehead, S. (2014) Justice for sale - the privatisation of offender
management services, London: TUC
984 Hansard HC, 4 December 2013, c719W
985 HM Prison Service website, accessed on 3 September 2014,
https://www.justice.gov.uk/about/hmps/contracted-out
986 Hansard HC, 4 December 2013, c719W
987 Ibid.
988 HM Prison Service website, accessed on 3 September 2014,
http://www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/prison-finder/northumberland
989 Contracts Finder website, accessed on 3 September 2014
http://bit.ly/1xaG1lj
990 Hansard HC, 17 October 2011, c668W
(Note: HMP Oakwood was originally named Featherstone II)
Doncaster
Thameside
Altcourse
Forest Bank
Birmingham
Parc
Peterborough
Dovegate
Rye Hill
Lowdham Grange
% Overcrowded
52%
49%
42%
34%
31%
25%
13%
5%
3%
2%
Private prisons have held a higher percentage of
their prisoners in overcrowded accommodation
than public sector prisons every year for the
past 16 years. However, the gap has narrowed
considerably over the past year, with private
prisons holding on average 24% of prisoners in
overcrowded accommodation, compared with 23%
in public prisons.995
Private prisons tend to be larger than those
in the public sector. The average capacity of
a privately managed prison is 1,045 inmates
compared to an average capacity of 706 across
state prisons in England and Wales.996
Of the ten largest prisons in England and Wales,
five are privately run.997
991 National Offender Management Service (2014) Business Plan
2014-2015, London: Ministry of Justice
992 G4S (2013) Annual Report and Accounts 2012, Crawley: G4S
993 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison Population Monthly Bulletin
September 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
994 Ibid.
995 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison and Probation Trusts performance
statistics 2013/14: Prison performance digest 2013-14, London:
Ministry of Justice
996 Whitehead, S. (2014) Justice for sale - The privatisation of offender
management services, London: TUC
997 National Offender Management Service (2014) Population Bulletin
– Monthly July 2014, London: Ministry of Justice
76
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
HMPs Oakwood, Thameside and Doncaster
were amongst the worst performing prisons in
England and Wales in 2013–14, receiving ratings
of ‘overall performance is of concern’. Only
one private prison, HMP Parc, gained a rating of
‘exceptional performance’.998
The average cost at HMP Oakwood, the newest
private prison, is £13,200 per place per year.1000
Prison
Payments to private prison contractors were
£428.1 million in 2012–2013. The NOMS budget
for payments in 2013–2014 is £424.1 million.1002
Altcourse
Ashfield
Birmingham
Bronzefield
Doncaster
Dovegate
Forest Bank
Lowdham Grange
Northumberland
Oakwood
Parc
Peterborough (Female)
Peterborough (Male)
Rye Hill
Thameside
Rating
3
3
3
3
2
3
3
3
3
2
4
3
3
3
2
Between February and June 2014, the Ministry of
Justice purchased 412 additional prison places
at private prisons at a total cost of £2,146,841.1001
£ Million
Out-turn
Budget
2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Rating 4 = Exceptional performance
Rating 3 = Meeting the Majority of Targets
Rating 2 = Overall performance is of concern
In 2012–13 the overall resource expenditure of
private prisons was £427.6 million, £59m more
than the year before.999
Prison
Overall resource Cost per place (£)
expenditure (£m)
Dovegate
40
37,653
Lowdham G
30
33,422
Rye Hill
20.8
34,696
Bronzefield
30.8
58,530
Ashfield
27.8
67,279
Altcourse
49.4
62,251
Birmingham
36.5
33,371
Doncaster
24.4
33,001
Forest Bank
39.4
37,037
Parc
61.9
52,861
Peterborough
36
42,912
Thameside
30.6
52,895
Total
427.6
998 Ministry of Justice (2014) Prison annual performance ratings
2013/14, London: Ministry of Justice
999 Table 3, Ministry of Justice (2013) Prison and probation trusts
performance statistics: 2012 to 2013: Costs per place and cost per
prisoner by individual prison establishment 2012-13, London: Ministry
of Justice and Table 3, Ministry of Justice (2012) National Offender
Management Service Annual Report 2011-12: Management Information
Addendum, London: Ministry of Justice
Note: The unit costs of private and public prisons are not directly comparable
because of different methods of financing and scope.
Private Finance Initiative prisons
Altcourse
47.596
47.213
Ashfield
25.015
26.285
Bronzefield
26.490
27.925
Dovegate
36.670
38.065
Forest Bank
35.572
35.467
Lowdham Grange
25.758
26.558
Parc
47.946
58.526
Peterborough
32.866
33.118
Rye Hill
17.944
18.845
Thameside
n/a
0.143
47.488
27.529
29.168
39.402
36.510
27.972
59.628
33.776
19.322
27.505
46.960
28.713
30.486
40.539
38.093
28.899
57.517
34.880
20.610
30.806
Contract Managed prisons
Birmingham
n/a
Doncaster
22.527
Oakwood
n/a
Wolds
9.104
Total
327.489
28.812
18.547
23.631
8.789
428.078
29.139
17.125
18.049
2.323
424.138
14.148
19.983
n/a
8.662
354.938
A recent Inspectorate report on the new 1,600
place HMP Oakwood found that “too many
prisoners felt unsafe and indicators of levels
of violence were high”. Inspectors had “no
confidence in the quality of recorded data or the
structures and arrangements to reduce violence”.
Staff-prisoner relationships were “not respectful”
and “prisoners had little confidence in staff to act
consistently or to get things done”.1003
1000 Hansard HC, 22 March 2013, c836W
1001 Hansard HC, 1 September 2014, c178W
1002 Hansard HC, 18 July 2013, c844W
Note: Thameside became operational on 27 March 2012.
Birmingham transferred to private sector management on 1 October 2011.
Doncaster contract re-competed with revised pricing effective from 1 October
2011. Oakwood became operational on 24 April 2012; expenditure in 2012-13
included £7.2 million of initial set-up costs. Wolds transferred to public sector
management on 1 July 2013.
1003 HM Inspectorate of Prisons (2013) Report on an unannounced
inspection of HMP Oakwood, London: HMIP
77
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Community solutions
The government is currently taking forward the
most sweeping changes to the probation service
since the establishment of probation committees
under the 1925 Criminal Justice Act. The
Transforming Rehabilitation reforms create a new
National Probation Service (NPS), which sits within
the National Offender Management Service (NOMS),
and 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs)
whose contracts are subject to competition.
Court Orders (Community Orders and Suspended
Sentence Orders) are more effective (by nearly
seven percentage points) at reducing one-year
proven reoffending rates than custodial sentences
of less than 12 months for similar offenders.1004
The cost of a six-week stay in prison is, on
average, £4,500 and during that time many
prisoners undertake no education or rehabilitative
work. The cost of a high-intensity two-year
community order, containing 80 hours of unpaid work
and mandatory accredited programmes was £4,200.
Shorter community sentences cost much less.1005
In 2013–14, 50,827 people successfully completed
community payback sentences. There has been
a decline in the volume of national community
payback completions each year between 2009-10
and 2013–14 due to courts sentencing people to
fewer Community Orders.1006
The government has initiated pilot programmes
at Peterborough and Doncaster prisons to
reduce reoffending. Under the programme,
investors will see a return on their investment
according to their results.
An independent analysis of the Peterborough
scheme found that there had been a 8.39%
reduction in reoffending rates within the first
cohort, which is below the 10%required to
trigger payment.1007
The Crime and Courts Act 2013 introduced
a new mandatory punitive element for all
community sentences, unless there are
exceptional circumstances. This is despite
Ministry of Justice research showing that adding a
punitive requirement to a supervision requirement
“had no impact on the re-offending rate when this
was measured over a period of two years”.1008
1004 Table A1, Ministry of Justice (2013) 2013 Compendium of
reoffending statistics and analysis, London: Ministry of Justice
1005 National Audit Office (2010) Managing offenders on short
custodial sentences, London: National Audit Office
1006 Ministry of Justice (2014) National Offender Management Service
Annual Report 2013/14: Management Information Addendum, London:
Ministry of Justice
1007 Jolliffe, D and Hedderman, C. (2014) Peterborough Social Impact
Bond: Final Report on Cohort 1 Analysis, Leicester: University of
Leicester
1008 Bewley, H. (2012) The effectiveness of different community
The average length of a Community Order is
14.5 months, and 18 months for a Suspended
Sentence Order. The two most frequently used
requirements on a Community Order are unpaid
work (31%) and supervision (11%), and for a
Suspended Sentence Order it is unpaid work (22%)
and supervision (10%).1009
In 2013, a higher proportion of women than
men completed their community sentence
successfully or had their sentences terminated
for good progress on both community orders
(71%) and suspended sentence orders (73%)
versus 66% for both orders for men.1010
In 2012, only 764 mental health treatment
requirements (MHTRs) were issued, making
up less than 0.3% of all community sentence
requirements.1011 There have been a number of
barriers to its effective use, including uncertainty as
to who should receive an MHTR, how breaches of
the order are managed and the need for a formal
psychiatric report.1012
Some estimates show that at least 39% of
offenders supervised by probation services have
mental health problems, and that around 60%
have substance abuse problems.1013
In a recent survey of 2,919 people on Community
Orders, nearly all of those surveyed (96%) agreed
that they had tried hard to do all the things in the
Community Order. 77% agreed that the Community
Order made them less likely to commit crime, and
64% agreed that it had given them an opportunity to
give something back to society.1014
83% of offenders who said staff had involved
them in deciding the aims of the plan agreed
that the Community Order made them less likely
to reoffend. The equivalent figure for those who
said they were not involved was 65%.1015
When people serving community sentences
were asked what would help them stop
offending, 62% said having a job, and 50% said
having a place to live.1016
order requirements for offenders who received an OASys assessment,
London: Ministry of Justice
1009 Table A4.14 and A4.10, Ministry of Justice (2014) Offender
Management Statistics Annual Tables 2013, London: Ministry of Justice
1010 Table A4.23, Ibid.
1011 Table 4.4, Ministry of Justice (2013) Offender Management
Caseload Statistics (quarterly) October-December 2012, London:
Ministry of Justice
1012 Scott, G. and Moffatt, S. (2012) The Mental Health Treatment
Requirement: Realising a better future, London: Centre for Mental
Health
1013 Brooker, C. et al. (2012) Probation and mental illness. Journal of
Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 23(4): 522-537
1014 Ministry of Justice (2013) Results from the Offender Management
Community Cohort Study: Assessment and sentence planning,
London: Ministry of Justice
1015 Ibid.
1016 Table 4.6, Ibid.
78
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Restorative justice
The Crime and Courts Act 2013 allows courts
to defer at the pre-sentence stage in order for
the victim and offender to be offered restorative
justice at the earliest opportunity.1017
The government funded a £7 million seven year
research programme looking into restorative
justice. The research featured a randomised control
trial and dealt with serious offences, including
robbery, burglary and violent offences. Its findings
were published in 2007.1018
85% of victims surveyed were either ‘very’
or ‘quite’ satisfied with their restorative
conference. 80% of offenders in the Justice
Research Consortium’s (JRC) conferences were
‘very’ or ‘quite’ satisfied.1019
27% fewer crimes were committed by offenders
who had experienced restorative conferencing,
compared with those offenders who did not.1020
98% of conferences ended with the participants
reaching an outcome agreement, which was
usually focused on what the offender would do
next to repair the harm, address their problems and
reorientate their life away from crime.1021
Although victims tended to opt for a restorative
meeting with an intermediary when this was offered,
indirect processes tended to lead to lower levels of
victim satisfaction than face-to-face meetings.1022
Another evaluation of restorative justice found
that young girls involved in a final warning
restorative scheme were significantly less likely
to reoffend than the control group (118 fewer
arrests per 100 offenders compared to 47 fewer for
the control group).1025
Northern Ireland’s well established Youth
Conference Service has a significant proportion
of victims taking part in conferences, with
90–100% expressing satisfaction with the
outcome.1026 In 2010–11, diversionary youth
conference plans had a one year reoffending rate
of 31%, compared with community disposals
such as the youth conference order (54%), and the
supervision order (63%).1027
Between 2008–09 and 2011–12 on average
93% of agreed youth conference plans were
sucessfully completed. During the same period,
on average 77% of all referrals received result in a
completed youth conference plan.1028
In an ICM survey commissioned by the Prison
Reform Trust, conducted one month after
the riots in August 2011, nearly nine out of 10
people (88%) agreed that victims of theft and
vandalism should be given the opportunity to
inform offenders of the harm and distress they
have caused. Almost three-quarters (71%) believed
that victims should have a say in how the offender
can best make amends for the harm they have
caused.1029
Restorative justice approaches are cost
effective. As a result of reductions in the frequency
of offending the JRC restorative justice projects
saved the criminal justice system nine times what it
cost to deliver.1023
National Offender Management Service (NOMS)
guidelines for the use of Restorative Justice
state: “Victim-offender conferencing is likely
to deliver the best outcomes when targeted
to those who have committed violence or
acquisitive offences, where there is a clear
victim, and where the offender is medium or
high likelihood of reoffending.”1024
1017 Crime and Courts Act 2013, Schedule 16 - Part 2
1018 Shapland, J et al (2007) Restorative Justice: the views of victims.
The third report from the evaluation of three schemes. Ministry of
Justice Research Series 3/07. London: Ministry of Justice
1019 Ibid.
1020 Restorative Justice Council (2011) What does the Ministry of
Justice RJ research tell us? London: RJC
1021 Shapland, J et al (2007) Restorative Justice: the views of victims.
The third report from the evaluation of three schemes. Ministry of
Justice Research Series 3/07. London: Ministry of Justice
1022 Ibid.
1023 Restorative Justice Council (2011) What does the Ministry of
Justice RJ research tell us? London: RJC.
1024 National Offender Management Service (2012) Better outcomes
through Victim-Offender Conferencing (Restorative Justice), London:
NOMS
1025 Sherman, L. and Strang, H. (2007) Restorative Justice: the
evidence, London: The Smith Institute
1026 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (2014) Monitoring
of progress on implementation of the youth justice review
recommendations, Belfast: CJI Northern Ireland
1027 Table 5, Duncan, L. (2014) Youth Reoffending in Northern Ireland
(2010/11 Cohort), Belfast: Department of Justice
1028 Tables 26 and 27, Decodts, M. and O’Neill, N. (2014) Youth
Justice Agency Annual Workload Statistics 2012/13, Belfast: Youth
Justice Agency
1029 Prison Reform Trust (2011) Public want offenders to make
amends briefing paper, London: Prison Reform Trust
79
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
Public perceptions of crime
Total spending for public order and safety by the
government was £30.2 billion in 2013–14.1030
There were 127,909 police officers in the 43
police forces of England and Wales as at 31
March 2014, a decrease of 1,674 or 1.3%
compared with a year earlier. It is the fourth
consecutive annual fall in the officer total, with
15,825 fewer than in 2011.1031
According to the Office for National Statistics,
crime rates have fallen by 14% in the year
ending March 2014.1032 Crime is at the lowest level
since the survey began in 1981 and is now 62%
lower than its peak level in 1995.1033
In 2012, when asked what they thought had
happened to the level of crime nationally over
the past year, 66% of people thought it had
risen ‘a little more’ or ‘a lot more’ than two years
ago.1034
People have more positive perceptions of crime
locally than nationally, with 29% saying they
thought crime in their local area had increased.1035
In 2012, 12% of adults were worried about
burglary, 8% about car crime and 13% of adults
were worried about violent crime.1036
In September 2014, 14% of interviewees thought
that crime was one of the most important issues
facing Britain today.1037 This compares with 47%
in 2008.1038
A survey found that: “while the public may
‘talk tough’ in response to opinion polls which
ask whether sentencing is harsh enough,
when considering specific criminal cases and
individual circumstances, there is considerable
support for mitigating punishments.”1039
1030 Table 4.2, HM Treasury (2014) Public Expenditure Statistical
Analyses 2014, London: HM Treasury
1031 Figure 2, Home Office (2013) Police Workforce, England and
Wales, 31 March 2014, London: Home Office
1032 Office for National Statistics (2014) Crime in England and Wales,
Year Ending March 2014, London: ONS
1033 Table 1, Ibid.
1034 Table D26, Office for National Statistics (2012) Crime in England
& Wales Quarterly First Release to March 2012 - annual trend and
demographic tables, London: ONS
1035 Ibid.
1036 Table PM1, Office for National Statistics (2013) Crime in England
and Wales, year ending December 2012 - perception measure tables,
London: ONS
1037 Economist/Ipsos MORI September 2014 Issues Index, accessed
on 30 September 2014, available at http://www.ipsos-mori.com/
researchpublications/researcharchive/3455/EconomistIpsos-MORISeptember-2014-Issues-Index.aspx
1038 Ipsos MORI (2008) Ipsos MORI Issues Index August 2008,
London: Ipsos MORI
1039 Roberts, J. and Hough, M. (2011) Custody or community?
Exploring the boundaries of public punitiveness in England and Wales,
Criminology & Criminal Justice 11(2) pp181-197, Norwich: Page Bros
Most people surveyed underestimated the
severity of sentencing and thought that the
courts were too lenient. However they were
relatively lenient when expressing a sentencing
preference for a specific (hypothetical) case.1040
In August 2012, a Populus poll of victims of
lower level crime showed that 63% support
community sentences as an alternative to prison
for lower level offenders.1041
In a survey on behalf of the Prison Reform
Trust conducted one month after the riots in
August 2011, a huge majority of the public (94%)
support opportunities for offenders who have
committed offences such as theft or vandalism
to do unpaid work in the community as part of
their sentence, to pay back for what they have
done.1042
Nearly nine out of 10 people (88%) agree that
victims of theft and vandalism should be given
the opportunity to inform offenders of the harm
and distress they have caused.1043
Almost three-quarters (71%) believe victims
should have a say in how the offender can best
make amends for the harm they have caused.1044
Offered a range of measures to prevent crime
and disorder, most people (84%) consider that
better supervision of young people by parents
would be effective.1045
There was widespread support for ‘better
mental health care’ (80%); ‘making amends to
victims’ (79%); ‘unpaid community work’ (76%);
and ‘treatment to tackle drug addiction’ (74%).
Around two-thirds (65%) consider that a prison
sentence would be effective in preventing crime
and disorder.1046
57% of those who think crime is rising say
it is because of what they see on television,
and 48% because of what they read in tabloid
newspapers.1047
1040 Hough, M. et al. (2013) Attitudes to Sentencing and Trust in
Justice: Exploring Trends from the Crime Survey for England and
Wales, London: Ministry of Justice
1041 Victim Support and Make Justice Work (2012) Out in the open:
What victims really think about community sentencing, London: Victim
Support
1042 Prison Reform Trust (2011) Public want offenders to make
amends briefing paper, London: Prison Reform Trust
1043 Ibid.
1044 Ibid.
1045 Ibid.
1046 Ibid.
1047 Duffy, B., Wake, R., Burrows, T. and Bremner, P. (2007) Closing
the Gaps, Crime and Public Perceptions, London: Ipsos MORI
80
www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk
45% of crimes reported in newspapers in the UK
involve sex or violence, compared with only 3%
of actual reported crime.1048
There is a gap between people’s judgment on
the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime
and the actual risk to them. 13% of respondents
thought that they were very likely or fairly likely to
be a victim of violent crime, compared with 3% who
reported having been a victim of such a crime in the
year before interview.1049
16–24 year-olds are more likely than any other
age group to become a victim of crime.1050
An ICM poll in 2010 showed that 80% of 1,000
people surveyed strongly agreed that local
women’s centres where women address the
root causes of their crime and do compulsory
work in the community to payback should be
available.1051
According to a poll commissioned by the Prison
Reform Trust in September 2010, nearly twothirds of the public do not want to see children
in prison until at least the age of 12, rising to
14 for young people convicted of a non-violent
crime.1052
Better supervision by parents, treatment to
tackle drug addiction, treatment to tackle
binge drinking and better mental health care
are all rated much more effective than a prison
sentence at preventing young offenders from
returning to crime.1053
A YouGov opinion poll commissioned by the
Prison Reform Trust in November 2012 revealed
strong public support for effective community
and public health measures to prevent crime
and disorder. Treatment for drug addiction (67%),
intensive supervision of community orders (63%),
and mental health care (60%) were the top three
solutions cited in the poll of 1,552 people across
Britain. After these measures, stopping binge
drinking and imprisonment tied fourth as effective
means to prevent crime and disorder.1054
1048 Ibid.
1049 Table D22 and D30, Office for National Statistics (2012) Crime in
England & Wales Quarterly First Release to March 2012 - annual trend
and demographic tables, London: ONS
1050 Table D1, Office for National Statistics (2014) Annual Trend and
Demographic Tables - Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending March
2014, London: ONS
1051 ICM opinion poll for the Corston Coalition, 26-28 November
2010. Sample of 1000 adults 18+ in GB, by telephone omnibus
1052 PRT (2010) YouGov poll for ‘Out of Trouble’
1053 Ibid.
1054 Prison Reform Trust (2012) Public back community and health
solutions to cutting crime, 18 December 2012
81
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HIV and hepatitis in UK Prisons: Addressing Prisoners’ Healthcare Needs (PRT & National Aids Trust) 2005
The Impact of Volunteering: a Review of the CSV national day release prisoner volunteering project, 2006
Experiences of Minority Ethnic Employees in Prison, 2006 (Briefing Paper)
Crime Victims Say Jail Doesn’t Work, 2006 (SmartJustice Victim Support survey - Briefing Paper)
No One Knows - identifying and supporting prisoners with learning difficulties and learning disabilities: the
views of prison staff, 2007 - £10
Indefinitely Maybe? The indeterminate sentence for public protection, 2007 (Briefing Paper)
Mitigation: the role of personal factors in sentencing, 2007 - £12
No One Knows - identifying and supporting prisoners with learning difficulties and learning disabilities: the
views of prison staff in Scotland, 2007 - £10
There When You Need Them Most: pact’s first night in custody service, 2007 - £10
The Children & Families of Prisoners: recommendations for government, 2008 (Briefing with APF, pact and Clinks)
Prisoners’ Information Book, Male Prisoners and Young Offenders, 2008
No One Knows - police responses to suspects with learning disabilities and learning difficulties: a review of
policy and practice, 2008 - £10
Criminal Damage: why we should lock up fewer children, 2008
Crises in Criminal Justice: A report on the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group, 2008
Creating a Sentencing Commission for England and Wales, 2008 - £10
Titan Prisons: A gigantic mistake, 2008
Prisoners’ Voices: Experiences of the criminal justice system by prisoners with learning disabilities and
difficulties, 2008 - £20
Too Little Too Late: an independent review of unmet mental health need in prison, 2009 - £10
Information Book for Prisoners with a Disability, 2009
Children: Innocent Until Proven Guilty? 2009
Out of Trouble: Reducing child imprisonment in England and Wales - lessons from abroad, 2009 - £10
Out of Trouble: Making Amends - restorative youth justice in Northern Ireland, 2009
Vulnerable defendants in the criminal courts: a review of provision for adults and children, 2009 - £10
Barred from Voting: the Right to Vote for Sentenced Prisoners - 2010 (Briefing Paper with UNLOCK)
A Fair Response: developing responses to racist incidents that earn the confidence of black and minority
ethnic prisoners - 2010
Too Many Prisoners: The All-Party Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group January 2008 - March 2010
Doing Time: Good practice with older people in prison - the view of prison staff - June 2010
Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection - June 2010
Out of Trouble: Punishing Disadvantage, a profile of children in custody - September 2010
Time is Money: financial responsibility after prison, UNLOCK and Prison Reform Trust - October 2010 - £15
Seen and Heard: supporting vulnerable children in the youth justice system - November 2010 - £15
Double Trouble: Black, Asian and minority ethnic offenders’ experiences of resettlement - November 2010
Into the Breach: the enforcement of statutory orders in the youth justice system - May 2011 - £12
Time Well Spent: A practical guide to active citizenship and volunteering in prison - May 2011 - £10
Reforming Women’s Justice: report of the Women’s Justice Taskforce - June 2011 - £10
Last Resort? exploring the reduction in child imprisonment 2008-11 - July 2011 - £6
Public want offenders to make amends - September 2011 (Briefing Paper)
Care - a stepping stone to custody? - December 2011 - £12
No Way Out? A briefing paper on foreign national women in prison in England and Wales - January 2012
(PRT and Hibiscus)
Old Enough to Know Better? A briefing on young adults in the criminal justice system in England and Wales
- January 2012
Fair Access to Justice?: Support for vulnerable defendants in the criminal courts - June 2012
Out for Good: Taking responsibility for resettlement - July 2012
Prisoner Rehabilitation: the work of the All Party Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group June 2010 - July 2012
Fatally Flawed: has the state learned from the deaths of children and young people in prison? - October 2012
(PRT and INQUEST)
Turning young lives around: How health and justice services can respond to children with mental health
problems and learning disabilities who offend, November 2012 (PRT and Young Minds)
Making the Difference: the role of adult social care services in supporting vulnerable offenders - April 2013
Reducing Women’s Imprisonment Action Pack - April 2013 (PRT and Soroptimists)
Talking Justice: Where do you stand? and Talking Justice: What can I do? - May 2013
Mental health and learning disabilities in the criminal courts: Information for magistrates, district judges and court staff - October 2013
Through the Gateway: How computers can transform rehabilitation - October 2013 (PRT and Prisoners’
Education Trust)
Brighter Futures: Working together to reduce women’s offending - March 2014
Prison: The Facts, Bromley Briefings Online, is available on the App Store and Google Play - Updated October 2014
Punishment without Purpose - October 2014
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