Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

11 things I learnt from the 2015 offender statistics

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Latest MoJ stats show big increase in long term prisoners and a jump in probation caseload for the first time in 5 years.

The Offender Management Statistics for 2015 (which were published on 29 April 2016) make for interesting reading.

Here’s some of the key points which I think are of interest.


  • The prison population has remained relatively stable over the last year, 85,930 at 31 March 2016 was just over 200 less than 12 months earlier.
  • However, the composition of those inside did change; the sentenced population increased by 3% while the remand population fell by 15% compared to 1 year earlier.
  • The number of prisoners serving long sentences (four years or more) continue to increase; prisoners serving sentences of 10 years or more now comprise 9% of the prison population.
  • This trend is linked to the increase in the number of sex offenders in prison. At the end of March 2016, there were 12,240 sentence sex offenders in the prison population, 10% higher than the year before.
  • The increase in violence which featured in so many recent inspectors’ reports appears to be borne out by a 15% jump in the number of proven adjudications in 2015 compared to the previous years.
  • The number of releases on temporary licence (ROTL) fell by 26% in 2015.


probation caseload 2015

  • The total annual probation caseload increase for the first time in many years to 241,000 at the end of December 2015 – up 11% on the year before.
  • This increase is partly attributable to the fact that short sentence prisoners (those serving more than one day and less than 12 months) recently became eligible to receive 12 months supervision on release (following the Offender Rehabilitation Act (ORA) 2014.
  • However, the court order caseload also rose by 2%. Although community orders fell by 1% the Suspended Sentence Order caseload rose by 8% compared to the previous year.
  • The volume of court reports increased by 10% between the quarters ending December 2014 and 2015, rising from 36,159 to 39,801
  • A total of 5800 offenders were recalled to custody in just the last three months of 2015. Almost 2000 of these were serving a sentence of less than 12 months and so only became eligible for a recall as a result of ORA. This explains the entire 28% increase since licence recalls compared to the same period in 2014.
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