20 fast facts on UK Prisons – sorry, No Vacancy

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Easy enough to find. Not enough space. Some fast facts on the state of prisons.

  1. UK prisons are at 96% (83,430) capacity (86,555) as of Friday, 25th May 2018. There are 3,125 available spaces left but 3,214 cases of home detention. 95% of inmates are male.
  2. A year ago (May 2017), capacity was 98.4% and 95% male population with around 2,100 in home detention.
  3. A prison is classified as overcrowded if the number of prisoners held exceeds the establishments Certified Normal Accommodation (CNA). As at the 30 December 2016, 69% (80) of prison establishments were overcrowded, 23 just over 10,000 more prisoners than the total in use CNA.
  4. Prison guards in the UK over the last decade have shrunk 30% from 25,000 to 17,500. The UK government announced in November 2016 that it plans to recruit 2,500 new front-line officers by 2018.
  5. In the 12 months to March 2017, there were 40,414 reported incidents of self-harm (a rate of 474 per 1,000 prisoners), up 17% on the previous year. The number of self-harm incidents requiring hospital attendance increased by 13% on the previous year to 2,771 while the proportion of incidents that required hospital attendance remains broadly similar at 6.9%.
  6. Self-harm trends differ considerably by gender, with a rate of 409 incidents per 1,000 in male establishments (with incidents up 24% on the previous year) compared to a rate of 1,835 per 1,000 in female establishments (a reduction of 8% in number of incidents from the previous year).
  7. Assaults continued to increase, reaching a record high of 26,643 assault incidents in the 12 months to March 2017, up 4,461 (20%) from the previous year. Of these, 3,606 were serious assaults, up 22% from the previous year.
  8. There were 19,361 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in the 12 months to March 2017 (a rate of 227 per 1,000 prisoners), up 16% on the previous year. Of these, 2,825 were serious assaults, up 21% on the previous year.
  9. There were 7,159 assaults on staff in the 12 months to March 2017 (a rate of 84 per 1,000 prisoners), up 32% on the previous year. Of these, 805 were serious assaults, up 25% on the previous year.
  10. Deaths in prison have risen sharply in the last decade. Deaths per prisoner numbers are up 76%.  Other deaths (where cause has yet to be determined) up 833%. Absolute numbers are only 3.7 per 1,000 prisoners up from 2.1 a decade ago.
  11.  The National Tactical Response Group (NTRG) which is called under extreme levels of incidents has grown from 120 in 2010 to over 420 in the year to August 2016. Annualized that number would be close to 630. So almost 6-fold in only 6 years. In prison. Gold Command and Tornado teams are those where prison guards have specialist training.
  12. 25% of prison inmates are in for violence against others. 17% are in for sexual offences and 15% for theft and drug offences.
  13. The proportion of 30-39 year olds has increased by 4 percentage points to 30% since 2010. At the end of 2016 it was the most numerous age group of prisoners with over 25,000 in this age bracket. The proportion of prisoners aged over 40 has increased from 22% in 2005 to 33% in 2016.
  14. It is interesting to note that as of the 31 December 2016, there was one prisoner over the age of 100.
  15. At the end of 2016 just over a quarter of the prison population was from a non-white ethnic group – this figure has stayed relatively constant since 2005. Whites make up 87% of the UK population and 73% of inmates. Asian/Asian British make up 6.9% of the population and 8.0% of the inmates. Black/Black British make up 3% of the population and 12% of inmates.
  16. In June 2005, the largest ethnic groups in prison for British nationals were White (82%), Black/Black British (10%) and Asian/Asian British (4%).
  17. At the end of 2016 just under half the prison population was of a Christian faith (48.5%) – a decrease of 9.5% compared to June 2002. The proportion of Muslim prisoners has increased from 8% in 2002 to 15% in 2016. The proportion of prisoners with no religion in 2016 (31.5%) was down 0.9% compared to 2002. Hindu’s and Jews make up 0.5% each, Sikh 0.9% and Buddhist 1.8% of inmates. 
  18. At the end of 2016 there were just under 10,000 foreign nationals (FNP) within the prison population (c.12%). Foreign nationals from Europe accounted for the greatest proportion of all foreign nationals within the prison population (51%), those from Africa (19%) and Asia (16%) contributed the second and third largest proportion respectively.
  19. At the end of 2016, foreign nationals originating from the EU (excluding the UK) accounted for 43% of all foreign nationals in prison and just under 5% of the total prison population. Men accounted for 96% of all FNPs within the prison population.
  20. The available data for European countries in 2014 shows that Sweden
    and Norway spent £439/day per prisoner and £432/day per prisoner respectively. Figures for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all around £150 a day. Croatia spends a little over £9/day per prisoner.

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