Prisons: Overcrowding

Justice written question – answered on 25th June 2014.

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Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Shadow Minister (London), Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners were in overcrowded cells on 1 April (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011, (d) 2012, (e) 2013 and (f) 2014.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We will always have enough prison places for those sent to us by the courts and continue to modernise the prison estate so that it delivers best value for the taxpayer. This Government have a long-term strategy for managing the prison estate which will provide more adult male prison capacity than we inherited from the previous Government.

Crowding occurs when the number of prisoners in an accommodation unit exceeds the Certified Normal Accommodation in that unit. The average rate of crowding is published annually in the NOMS annual report and accounts.

The average number of prisoners in crowded accommodation for the years 2005-06 to 2013-14 is set out in the following table, alongside the average percentage in crowded accommodation in order to provide context.

  Average number of prisoners in crowded accommodation Average rate of crowding (%)
2005-06 18,356 24.0
2006-07 19,438 24.6
2007-08 20,377 25.3
2008-09 20,452 24.7
2009-10 20,235 24.1
2010-11 20,211 23.8
2011-12 20,907 24.1
2012-13 19,933 23.3
2013-14 19,383 22.9

In 2013-14, the average number of prisoners held in crowded conditions decreased to 22.9% of the total population compared to 23.3% in 2012-13. This is the lowest level since 2001-02 and has come down from a high of 25.3% in 2007-08.

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