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Prisoners hang out on A wing at Wandsworth prison. HMP Wandsworth in South West London was built in 1851 and is one of the largest prisons in Western Europe. It has a capacity of 1456 prisoners.
Russell Webster

Russell Webster

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

Fewer prisoners released, more recalled

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The latest offender management statistics say prison receptions and releases are down, but recalls are up.

10 things you didn't know?

The latest Offender Management Statistics Bulletin was published last week (25 April 2019). This edition covers the prison population until the end of March this year and data from the rest of the system up to the end of 2018.

Here are the main points that I found of interest:

1: Prison population stable

The prison population fell slightly last year but by less than 1% to 82,634 on 31st March 2019.

2: Fewer people on remand

The remand population has decreased by 3% (306) compared with the same point 12 months earlier. The number of males in custody on remand decreased by 3% (to 8,437) whilst the number of females decreased by 8% (to 520). More than half (55%) of those in custody on remand were being held for either:
Violence against the person (22% of the remand population), Drug offences (19%) or Theft Offences (14%).

3: Fewer people are being sent to prison

There was a sizeable drop in the number of people sent to prison in 2018 — first receptions were down by 9% on 2017 to 76,450.

4: Fewer prisoners are being released

As the prison population shifts towards those serving longer sentences, it is unsurprising that fewer prisoners are released – there were 69,622 releases in 2018, down 3% on 2017.

5: But recalls are up

The number of prisoners being recalled continues to rise. There were 6,413 licence recalls in the last quarter of 2018. This is a 13% increase on the same quarter in 2017, driven in part by an increase in Home Detention Curfew recalls following the policy change in early 2018. Prisoners who have been recalled now make up about 9% of the prison population – 7,179 prisoners on 31 March 2019.

© Andy Aitchison

6: Adjudication are up

During 2018 there were 204,715 adjudications – this is a rise of 7% compared to 2017. Of these, proven adjudications increased from 124,884 to 132,538 over the same period, a rise of 6%, continuing the increasing trend observed since 2013.

7: And so are “additional days” as punishment

In terms of punishments, additional days were awarded on 22,365 occasions in 2018 (up from 21,081 in 2017). Across these 22,365 occasions, a total of 380,169 additional days (the equivalent of 1.942 years)were added to prisoners’ sentences in 2018 (up from 359,081 in 2017). 

8: Probation numbers down

The total number of offenders on probation was 256,010 at the end of December 2018; a 3% decrease in the total number of offenders on probation (court orders and pre and post release supervision) compared with 31 December 2017.

9: Community sentences down

The court order caseload fell by 5% between the quarters ending December 2017 and 2018, with the Community Order (CO) caseload decreasing by 2% and the Suspended Sentence Order (SSO) caseload decreasing by 11%. The number of offenders starting COs increased by 4% over this period, while the number of offenders starting SSOs with requirements decreased by 24%. This may be caused by a recent instruction to probation officers not to recommend SSOs in Pre-Sentence reports, leading to more offenders being given COs in their place. 

10: Court reports down

The number of Pre-Sentence court reports prepared by the Probation Service decreased by 10% between the quarter ending December 2018 and the same quarter in the previous year. Eighty-nine per cent of immediate custodial sentences proposed in Pre-Sentence Reports resulted in that sentence being given in the latest 12 month period.

Thanks to Andy Aitchison for kind permission to use the images in this post. You can see Andy’s work here.

 

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