WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 19 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Prison population predicted to rise by more than previously predicted despite current poor conditions and overcrowding

Prison population predicted to rise by more than previously predicted despite current poor conditions and overcrowding

A view of D wing from the exercise yard at Wandsworth Prison..HMP Wandsworth in South West London was built in 1851 and is one of the largest prisons in Western Europe. It has a capacity of 1456 prisoners.

The prison population in England and Wales could rise by 30% over the next four years according to new figures released by the government.

Despite the existing overcrowding in prisons, the Ministry of Justice say the number of people in prison could rise to as high as 114,800 people by March 2028. This is a revision of their previous figures, which predicted a lower rise in prison population numbers.

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to the announcement, saying the government’s predictions ‘paint an utterly untenable picture’.

In a statement they said: ‘While the size of the prison population is unlikely to feature in the campaigning of political parties, whoever wins the next election will face the urgent need to address this problem.

Even if prison spaces could be supplied to meet this estimated growth, which seems unlikely, it would divert billions more from lasting solutions to crime and the existing failures of the system would only be magnified further.

One of the reasons for an increase in the government’s estimated population is on account of a higher remand population. The Howard league said tackling the overuse of reman would be ‘an important first step to avoid this grim future’.

They added a ‘root and branch review’ of sentencing was needed to address the issues facing prisons.

The government have said the reasons behind the projected increase in the prison population include police charging more people, and changes to sentencing policy which means people are often being kept in prison for longer than previously for the same offences.

The Justice Gap has previously reported on the crisis facing prisons in the UK, including recently announced plans to imprison criminals abroad, and use police cells as overflow for overcrowded prisons.