Key Figures

People In Prison & On Probation in England & Wales

People In Prison
Total no. of people in prison* on March 16, 2012: 87,870
Total no. of men in prison* on the above date: 83,695
Total no. of women in prison* on the above date: 4,175
Total no. of people on Home Detention Curfew on the above date: 2,809
 Usable Operational Capacity** of the prison system on the above date: 89,394
Background Note:

  • The prison population grew from 1993 to 2008 by an average of 4% a year.
  • This rise in prisoners slowed down from late 2008 with an average annual 1% increase.
  • However the widespread public disorder in August 2011 led to a rise in the number of people in prison

*Includes people in NOMS operated Immigration Removal Centres.Of the 1.32 million offenders sentenced during the 12 months ending September 2011, a total 102,100 were sentenced to immediate custody,

**Useable Operational Capacity: official measure used to take account of all establishments’ operational capacity less 2,000 places.

People On Probation
Total no. of people supervised by Probation on 30 September, 2011*: 232,862
All court orders: 125,692
All community sentences: 86,410
Other sentences: 42,413
Deferred sentences:  77
Suspended sentence orders: 42,354
All pre and post release supervision: 108,446
Pre release supervision : 69,6221 %
Post release supervision: 39,2439%
No. of court reports prepared by the Probation Service in 2010: 212,484
No. of full time equivalent staff in the Probation Service on 31 December , 2011: 18,330
Background Note:

  • The annual total probation caseload (court orders and pre and post-release supervision) increased by 39% between 2000 and 2008, to a total of 243,434.
  • Since then the probation caseload has fallen slightly to 232,862. According to the Ministry of Justice, the rise between 2000 and 2008 was driven by the introduction of new court orders, especially the Suspended Sentence Order in 2005 (under the Criminal Justice Act 2003).
  • The increase in pre and post-release supervision caseload was due to the both the continued growth in the no. of offenders serving custodial sentences of 12+ months who require supervision on release from custody, and offenders spending longer periods on licence after release from custody (under the Criminal Justice Act 2003).
  • The no. being supervised at the end of 2010 continued the decrease seen in each of the previous two years; community orders fell by 6%, but SSOs remained virtually unchanged.

* These are the latest available figures, issued by the Ministry of Justice on January 26, 2012.


Activity in the Criminal Justice System in England & Wales

From year ending September 2010 to year ending September 2011

Year ending September 2010 Year ending September 2011 Percentage change
Out of court disposals 480,818 438,414 -8.8%
Cannabis warnings 84,536 79,792 -5.6%
Penalty notices for disorder (1) 145,686 127,965 -12.2%
Cautions 250,596 230,657 -8.0%
Defendants proceeded against 1,665,259 1,583,352 -4.9%
Indictable offences 433,089 423,053 -2.3%
Summary offences 1,232,170 1,160,299 -5.8%
Defendants convicted 1,375,491 1,318,735 -4.1%
Indictable offences 344,711 343,980 -0.2%
Summary offences 1,030,780 974,755 -5.4%
Prison receptions (2) 90,999 89,982 -1.1%
Probation starts (3) 182,778 178,149 -2.5%
( 1) Number of Penalty notices for disorder issued to offenders aged 16 and over.
(2) Receptions for offenders given a custodial sentence (includes fine defaulters).
 (3) Offenders starting Community Order or Suspended Sentence Order supervision by the Probation Service.
Note: Figures for cannabis warnings appearing in this publication are provisional and may be revised following Home Office validation. Finalised National Statistics will be published by the Home Office in July 2012 by financial year.
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  1. Community Sentences: A Problem With Perception? « Crime, Justice & Criminology - March 18, 2012

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