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Prison Accommodation

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what percentage of prisoners were held in accommodation classified as overcrowded in each year since 1997. (302495)

A prison's “certified normal accommodation” (CNA) is its agreed capacity when there is no crowding. A prison’s “operational capacity” is the maximum number of prisoners it is allowed to hold over and above CNA taking into account control, security and the proper operation of regimes. Operational capacity in prisons is set by the Director of Offender Management on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Operational managers must ensure that each cell used for the confinement of prisoners has sufficient heating, lighting and ventilation and is of adequate size for the number of prisoners to be held in it.

The figures requested are available from 1998-99 onwards and are set out in the following table.

Average number of prisoners in overcrowded accommodation

Average percentage of prison population in overcrowded accommodation

1998-99

13079

20.0

1999-2000

13083

20.1

2000-01

11780

18.2

2001-02

13018

19.2

2002-03

16684

23.3

2003-04

18300

24.8

2004-05

18214

24.3

2005-06

18356

24.0

2006-07

19438

24.6

2007-08

20377

25.3

2008-09

20452

24.7