Prisons: Ministers of Religion

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 24th May 2019.

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) prisoners and (b) chaplains employed within prisons there are of each religion or belief.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Prison Act 1952 enshrines in law the statutory duties of a prison chaplain. These tasks, which must be undertaken daily, are incorporated into Prison Rules and Young Offender Rules. They are explained in detail in Prison Service Instruction 05/2016 Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners.

We recognise and respect the right of prisoners to register and practice their faith while serving their prison sentence. Chaplaincy plays a critical and unique role in the work of prisons and life of prisoners. It provides not only faith advice but pastoral care in support of HM Prison and Probation Service’s commitments to decency, safety and rehabilitation.

A breakdown of prisoner population by religion is provided in the quarterly Offender Management statistics publication on GOV.UK. The latest publication can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/offender-management-statistics-quarterly-october-to-december-2018. The relevant extract of those statistics is provided in the following table:

Table 1.5: Prison population by religion and sex

31-Mar-18

30-Jun-18

30-Sep-18

31-Dec-18

31-Mar-19

Percentage change March 2018 to 2019

Males and Females

83,263

82,773

83,005

82,236

82,634

-1%

All Christian

39,839

39,541

39,784

39,293

39,515

-1%

Anglican

13,971

13,808

13,755

13,496

13,480

-4%

Free Church

776

764

782

758

737

-5%

Roman Catholic

14,334

14,277

14,246

14,094

14,160

-1%

Other Christian

10,758

10,692

11,001

10,945

11,138

4%

Muslim

12,847

12,894

12,868

12,894

13,008

1%

Hindu

379

354

350

361

343

-9%

Sikh

625

632

634

638

611

-2%

Buddhist

1,517

1,518

1,569

1,575

1,619

7%

Jewish

480

488

477

482

477

-1%

Other religious group

1,724

1,777

1,782

1,838

1,876

9%

Non recognised

10

11

12

6

7

**

No religion

25,711

25,393

25,413

25,053

25,034

-3%

Not recorded

131

165

116

96

144

10%

Chaplains may work on a full-time, part-time, sessional or voluntary basis. A breakdown of Chaplains in employed in prisons and by faith, is provided below.

Number of chaplains (headcount) employed by HM Prison and Probation Service1, as at 31 March 2019.

Headcount

Prison Service establishments

Religion

Number of chaplains

Christian

242

Muslim

118

Sikh

12

Hindu

3

Unknown2

99

Total

474

Notes to Table

  1. A substantial amount of Chaplaincy services within the public sector Prison Service are provided by non-employed staff on a sessional basis, which are not included in the figures presented in this table. Chaplains fill roles in bands 5 and 7 or above under the Fair and Sustainable structures.
  2. These are mostly managing Chaplains where the religion of the post is not specified.
  3. Only includes chaplains working in prisons and therefore will not match published data which includes Chaplains who work in other areas of HMPPS, such as at Headquarters.

Information on the private estate is not held centrally. The total number of chaplain staff since 2010 can be found in the HMPPS Workforce Statistics Bulletin. The latest publication on the number of Chaplains can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hm-prison-and-probation-service-workforce-quarterly-march-2019 Information on the religious affiliation of chaplains is not published.

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