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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

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

10 new criminal justice facts and figures

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A trawl through the latest MoJ statistics finds some interesting trends

Last week on Halloween, the Ministry of Justice published a whole range of statistics. No fewer than seven bulletins were published; including information on prison safety (covered in detail on yesterday’s post), offender management, prison performance and serious further offences.

I’ve been digging through them and here are 10 facts which I found interesting. I hope you do too.

Overall trends

1: Prison population level

The prison population has remained relatively static over the last 12 months with the longer term trend showing fewer prisoners serving sentences of four years or less and a growth in those serving longer sentences.

2: Prison recalls up (again)

The prison population would be much smaller without the recent trend in the increases of recalls. There was a big jump in the number of released prisoners recalled to custody in the year to September – up 22% on the year before.

3: Fewer people on probation

The total number of offenders supervised by the probation service fell by3% in the year to June to 254,165. Interestingly, there was a big increase (22%) in the number of probationers required to participate in alcohol treatment as part of their community order but a corresponding (11%) drop in the number of drug treatment requirements.

4: MAPPA numbers keep rising

I am always amazed by the number of people subject to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), the statutory arrangements to assess and manage the risk posed by certain sexual and violent offenders. Every year, the figure grows bigger. On 31 March this year, there were 82,921 offenders under MAPPA management, almost as many as the entire prison population (83,810 on 30th September this year).

Costs

5: Cost by prison category

The MoJ also published its annual cost of prison report. Data are organised according to different categories of prison. 

Costs per prison place on average for 2018/19

  • £31,454 Male Open Prison
  • £37,224 Male Cat C
  • £48,999 Male Local
  • £47,112 Female Open
  • £44,500 Female Closed
  • £51,792 Female Local
  • £52,117 Male YOI (18-21)
  • £89,794 Male YOI (15-17)

6: Cost by establishment

The MoJ also publishes costs at an individual establishment level. The cost per annual place at Male Category C Trainer prisons (the largest category comprising 43 different establishments) ranged from £19,819 at HMP Oakwood to £54,343 at HMP Brixton. Modern prisons really are a lot cheaper to run.

Safety

7: Deaths while on supervision

The MoJ also published its annual data on deaths of offenders in the community which made for very depressing reading. Self-inflicted deaths increased by 19% from 283 last year to 337 in 2018/19, amounting to almost one third (31%) of everyone who died whilst on supervision by the probation service last year.

Other trends

8: Number of sexual offenders falling

The rise in the long determinate sentenced population is in line with the increasing number of sentenced sexual offenders. However, there is evidence that this trend is levelling off, as there was a 3% decrease in the sentenced sexual offender population in the 12 months to 30 September 2019. As at 30 September 2019 there were 13,101 prisoners serving sentences for sexual offences, which represented 18% of the sentenced prison population.
In June 2018, the number of prisoners serving immediate custodial sentences for sexual offences reached its highest level since at least 2002, but has since been decreasing.

On a quarterly prison population basis, the number of prisoners serving immediate custodial sentences for sexual offences is at the lowest level since December 2016.

9: Extended determinate sentences continue to rise

EDS (the replacement to IPPs with a finite sentence but extended period of licence) are being more commonplace. EDSs were made available for courts to impose from 13 April 2015. On 30 September 2019, 5,546 prisoners were serving such sentences; a 13% increase compared to the same time last year.

10: More IPPs released… but more recalled

There were 2,223 IPP prisoners as at 30 September 2019 which represents a decrease of 14% in the last 12 months. This figure has decreased since the June 2012 peak of 6,080, however the number of IPP prisoners who have been recalled to custody continues to increase; in the past year the recalled IPP population has grown by 25% (to 1,206).

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