Number of inmates reaches record high
Saturday 23 July 2011
The prison population in England and Wales reached a record high yesterday.
The total number of prisoners hit 85,578 – 83 more than the previous record of 85,495 set last October and just under 2,500 short of the usable operational capacity of 88,073, Ministry of Justice figures showed.
Criminal justice campaigners have called on the Government to reduce the number of people behind bars.
But last month Prime Minister David Cameron scrapped Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke's "too lenient" plans to let offenders who plead guilty out of jail early.
Mr Clarke had proposed increasing the discount for the earliest guilty pleas from one third to a half in an effort to encourage more offenders to admit their crimes, saving costs and sparing victims the ordeal of a trial.
However, Mr Cameron forced him into a U-turn after the plans came under fire from the Conservative right and victims of crime.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said it would "always ensure there are sufficient prison places".
"There is a substantial margin between our available capacity and the actual population. New accommodation continues to become available, and in the next 12 months 2,500 new places will become operational."
Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform said: "Every week we cram hundreds more people into our already bulging jails, only for people to leave prison unchanged and to go back to crime."
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who ran away after argument with her parents
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Sepp Blatter resigns: FBI are investigating outgoing Fifa president, claims report
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 4 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop