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Prison Accommodation

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders held in a cell designed for one inmate shared it with one other in each of the last five years. (268826)

The table shows the average number of prisoners reported as being doubled in cells certified to hold one person and the percentage of prisoners in “crowded” accommodation for the last five years and provisional data for April 2008 to February 2009.

Since 1997 prison capacity has been increased by 24,000 places. In addition the Government announced an additional 20,000 places as part of the Capacity Programme, of which 4,600 has already been provided. The aim is to increase capacity to 96,000 by 2014.

Prisons can hold a number of prisoners beyond their Certified Normal Accommodation (CNA), subject to a maximum, which is known as the operational capacity. Operational capacity is defined as the total number of prisoners that an establishment can hold without serious risk to good order, security and the proper running of planned regimes. “Crowding” will be within the limit of operational capacity.

Financial year

Average number of prisoners doubling up in cells designed for one

Percentage of prisoners in crowded accommodation

2003-04

16,244

24.8

2004-05

16,864

24.3

2005-06

16,887

24.0

2006-07

18,190

24.6

2007-08

19,054

25.3

2008-09 (April to February)

19,180

24.8