The prison population in England and Wales is projected to be lower than previously expected by 2017, figures showed today.
The number of people in jail could rise from around 86,500 to up to 90,300 by June 2017, the latest Ministry of Justice projections showed.
This is almost 5,000 lower than last year's projection that the jail population could hit 94,800.
While these figures were for the scenario in which the prison population would increase the most, even the medium projection for June 2017 fell from 99,900 to 85,300.
This fall in the projection was largely due to the decline in the number of cases dealt with by courts last year and changes to sentencing policies in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, the Ministry of Justice said.
But the department warned the projections were "subject to significant uncertainty".
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