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Shameful' number of people sent to prison in England and Wales, report says


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Trust calls for public debate on punishment for serious crime to end 'addition to imprisonment'.

Pentonville Prison: Report reveals 140,000 admissions into prison in England and Wales in 2017

Pentonville Prison: Report reveals 140,000 admissions into prison in England and Wales in 2017

Date - 24th June 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
4 Comments4 Comments}


An “addiction to imprisonment” is seeing more people jailed in England and Wales every year than anywhere else in western Europe, it has emerged.

Figures branded as “shameful” show the rate of people serving prison terms in England and Wales is around twice as high as Germany and roughly three times that of Italy and Spain, the Prison Reform Trust found.

This amounted to more than 140,000 admissions into prison in England and Wales in 2017, the most recent year data is available for.

The trust’s analysis suggests there are nearly 240 prison admissions for every 100,000 people in the England and Wales each year.

It blamed overuse of short prison sentences and growing use of long terms, and botched probation reforms.

The trust’s analysis, which used the latest available Council of Europe annual penal statistics, also showed the current 82,400 prison population in England and Wales is nearly 70 per cent higher than three decades ago.

Each year England and Wales had over 40,000 more admissions to prison than Germany, which has a significantly larger national population.

And Scotland had the highest prison population rate per head, with 150 people held in prison for every 100,000 of the population, while England and Wales have 139 and Northern Ireland 76.

More than two-thirds – 81 out of 120 – of prisons in England and Wales were overcrowded.

The trust’s director, Peter Dawson, said: “These figures show the scale of the challenge that we face in breaking our addiction to imprisonment.

“Planned measures to limit the use of short sentences and correcting failed reforms to probation are both steps in the right direction.

“But our shamefully high prison population rates won’t be solved by these alone – a public debate about how we punish the most serious crime is overdue.”

The trust’s report says almost half (46%) of people sentenced to prison in England and Wales in 2018 were sentenced to serve six months or less.

Meanwhile, more than two-and-a-half times as many people were sentenced to 10 years or more in 2018 than in 2006, despite levels of serious crime being “substantially” lower.

England and Wales also have the highest number of indeterminate prisoners (9,441) in western Europe, the report says.

The figure is so high it is said to be more than Germany, Russia, Italy, Poland, Netherlands and Scandinavia combined.

The report also found more than 7,000 people are currently in prison as a result of being recalled from licence, compared to around 150 in 1995.

Justice Secretary David Gauke is considering whether to follow Scotland’s lead in adopting a presumption against short sentences in England and Wales.

He told the Commons earlier this month that it is already the case that custodial measures are something “that should only be pursued as a last resort”, but said his department is “seeing if we can go further than that”.

He added that he hopes to expand on his proposals “in the very near future”.

The government announced earlier this year that supervision of all offenders in England and Wales was being brought back in-house after a failed attempt to part-privatise probation services.

The overhaul, introduced in 2014 under then justice secretary Chris Grayling, was designed to drive down re-offending but was heavily criticised by MPs and regulators.

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Given that it seems that one has to be going some to get any sort of custodial sentence nowadays I think this report is flawed and pandering to a liberal fluffiness.

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I bet that most police who read that headline think it will go on to say shamefully LOW number sent to prison rather that the author's contention that too many end up there.

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It is a shameful number of people sent to prison. Shameful that it is so low as the judiciary  bend over backwards to find an excuse not to impose a custodial sentence.

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