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Prison population set to drop slightly
Official prison population projection predicts a short time fall in the prison population but acknowledges that recent policy announcements might reverse this.

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Yesterday’s official Prison Population Projection for the next five years promises a dip in the population for the next 18 months to approximately 81,000 before an increase up to 82,000 by March 2024. There are 82,905 men and women in our prisons last Friday 23 August.

However, both these projections come with a health warning that if the recent policy announcements of 20,000 more police and a review of sentencing of serious offenders are implemented, these projections will be wide of the mark.

As usual, the Office for National Statistics does its best to make the information easily digestible with the main points summarised on the front page of the projection. I have reproduced this below:

Key trends

Other key trends projected in the bulletin are:

  • The number of remand prisoners is predicted to remain stable at around 9,000
  • The number of prisoners serving indeterminate sentences is projected to fall from 9,338 this June to 8,000 by June 2023.
  • Conversely, the number of prisoners incarcerated because they have been recalled to prison following release is projected to increase from 7,392 this June to 8,300 by June 2023.
  • The recent ageing of the prison population may have peaked. There is predicted to be a substantial drop in the number of 50-59 year olds by June 2023 (7,600 instead of the current 8,532) with the number of 60-69 year olds dropping from 3,321 to 3,100 over the same time 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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