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Prisoners Release

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the size of the prison population in each month up to the end of 2015 following ending of the End of Custody Licence Scheme. [Official Report, 30 March 2010, Vol. 508, c. 7MC.] (320059)

The Ministry of Justice produces annual projections of the prison population in England and Wales, most recently in August 2009. These project the prison population under three different scenarios, based on different assumptions about future sentencing trends.

Other impacts included in the projections, such as those of legislation and processes, are applied equally to all scenarios. These cover the anticipated impacts of policy and process initiatives that have agreed implementation timetables. These assumptions and anticipated impacts have remained unchanged since 2008 projections.

End of Custody Licence (ECL) was introduced on 29 June 2007. Under this scheme a prisoner who was given a determinate custodial sentence between four weeks and four years can be released on licence up to 18 days before the end of their sentence.

Because there was no agreed timetable for its conclusion, its effect was included throughout the projection period. In the second half of 2009, the caseload of prisoners on ECL has been between 1,000 and 1,200:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/endofcustodylicence.htm

The scheme ends on 12 March this year as was recently announced. As result of this, it is expected that by the end of March 2010, the prison population will be 1,000 to 1,200 higher than was anticipated in the current published prison population projections.

This effect will carry on from March 2010 estimates onwards. Here are last year's projections plus 1,200:

Number

High

Medium

Low

2010

March

86,000

85,400

84,700

April

86,200

85,600

84,800

May

86,200

85,500

84,600

June

86,900

86,100

85,100

July

87,800

86,900

85,900

August

87,600

86,700

85,600

September

87,900

86,900

85,600

October

88,000

86,900

85,600

November

88,500

87,300

86,000

December

86,800

85,600

84,100

2011

January

87,700

86,400

84,800

February

88,000

86,600

84,900

March

89,000

87,600

85,800

April

88,900

87,300

85,500

May

89,200

87,500

85,600

June

89,800

88,100

86,100

July

90,400

88,600

86,500

August

90,400

88,500

86,400

September

90,500

88,600

86,400

October

90,600

88,600

86,400

November

90,800

88,700

86,400

December

88,600

86,400

84,000

2012

January

89,700

87,500

85,000

February

90,600

88,300

85,800

March

90,800

88,500

85,900

April

90,900

88,500

85,800

May

91,200

88,700

85,900

June

91,400

88,900

86,100

July

91,900

89,200

86,300

August

91,800

89,100

86,100

September

91,900

89,100

86,000

October

91,900

89,100

86,000

November

92,000

89,000

85,900

December

88,500

86,700

83,400

2013

January

89,500

87,700

84,300

February

90,400

88,500

85,100

March

90,600

88,600

85,100

April

90,600

88,500

85,000

May

90,900

88,700

85,100

June

91,100

88,800

85,200

July

91,500

89,200

85,400

August

91,400

89,000

85,200

September

91,500

89,000

85,100

October

91,500

89,000

85,000

November

91,600

89,000

85,000

December

89,400

86,700

82,600

2014

January

90,500

87,700

83,500

February

91,400

88,600

84,300

March

91,700

88,800

84,500

April

91,800

88,800

84,400

May

92,000

89,000

84,500

June

92,400

89,200

84,700

July

92,800

89,600

85,000

August

92,800

89,500

84,800

September

92,900

89,600

84,800

October

93,000

89,600

84,800

November

93,200

89,700

84,800

December

90,900

87,400

82,400

2015

January

92,000

88,400

83,400

February

93,000

89,300

84,200

March

93,300

89,500

84,300

April

93,400

89,500

84,300

May

93,600

89,700

84,400

June

93,900

89,900

84,500

Note: These figures will be revised in this year (2010) publication.

More details on the projections may be found in the latest published bulletin, "Prison Population Projections 2009-15" Ministry of Justice Statistics Bulletin, 28 August 2009. This is available at the following web page:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/prisonpopulation.htm