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Prisoners

Volume 476: debated on Monday 19 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the prison population was at the latest date for which figures are available; what proportion of the population this represents; and what bench-marking his Department has undertaken of the proportion of the UK population in prison against equivalent statistics for other EU member states. (205748)

Figures showing the numbers of prisoners in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the total for European Union countries can be found in the following table along with the calculated comparison of prison population per 100,000 against each total.

Country

2006

Rate per 100,000 population in 2006

England and Wales

79,085

147

Northern Ireland

1,433

82

Scotland

7,111

139

European Union 25

556,039

120

The other 24 countries in the EU in 2006 were Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

These figures are taken from table 8.17 in the Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2006, a copy of which can be found in the House of Common Library. Table 8.17 is a web table and can be found at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/prisonand probation.htm

This table includes comparative data on 44 countries.

The most recent figure for the prison population of all prison establishments in England and Wales is 81,695 at the end of March 2008 which can be found at the website:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/docs/population-in-custody-mar08. pdf

The equivalent figure, at the end of March 2008, for the prison population of all prison establishments in Scotland is 7,704. Population data can be found at the website:

http://www.sps.gov.uk/

The equivalent figure, at the end of March 2008, for the prison population of all prison establishments in Northern Ireland is 1,477. Population data can be found at the website:

http://www.niprisonservice.gov.uk/index.cfm

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.