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4 Sep 2017

800 years of additional imprisonment imposed on prisoners in England and Wales last year

Almost 800 years of additional imprisonment were imposed on prisoners found to have broken prison rules last year, as jails across England and Wales descended further into chaos.

Research by the Howard League for Penal Reform reveals today (Monday 4 September) that prisons are routinely and increasingly resorting to draconian punishments in a counter-productive attempt to regain control.

It shows that almost 290,000 additional days of imprisonment were handed down to prisoners during 2016 – a 75 per cent rise in only two years – as jails have been brought to breaking point by overcrowding and staff shortages. The Howard League has calculated that the additional days imposed in 2016 alone will cost the taxpayer about £27million.

The findings are published in Out of control: Punishment in prison, the latest in a series of Howard League reports examining how prisons respond to misbehaviour. It reveals how disciplinary hearings, known as adjudications, are used overly and inappropriately, with even minor infractions such as disobedience and disrespect being punished with additional days of imprisonment.

The report calls on England and Wales to follow the example set by Scotland, where the use of additional days of imprisonment was scrapped about 10 years ago.

Officials and governors in Scotland could find no evidence that abolishing the use of additional days had a negative impact on behaviour, and Scottish prisons have become safer since the change was made.

Scrapping the imposition of additional days of imprisonment in England and Wales would stop a vicious cycle. Currently, punishments pile more pressure on the prison population and worsen overcrowding, which in turn creates conditions for drug abuse, violence and other types of misbehaviour.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Prisons are out of control. More people than ever before are losing their lives to suicide, and violence and self-injury are at record levels. The adjudications system has become a monster that is making these problems worse.

“It is surely time to follow the example set in Scotland, where scrapping additional days’ imprisonment has made prisons fairer and safer. There are more constructive ways to deal with misbehaviour than simply locking up people for longer, which puts even more pressure on the system.

“Bold but sensible action to reduce the prison population would save lives and prevent more people being swept into deeper currents of crime, violence and despair.”

The Howard League has found that additional days of imprisonment are imposed arbitrarily in England and Wales, and the severity of punishment varies from prison to prison, creating a sense of unfairness and injustice.

A total of 12,100 additional days of imprisonment were imposed on prisoners in Aylesbury prison last year – more than any other prison in England and Wales. During the same period, Bedford – a similarly-sized prison located only 26 miles away – saw only 411 additional days’ imprisonment handed down.

In the private sector, there were striking differences even between prisons run by the same company. At Thameside, a large local prison run by Serco and holding an average of 1,200 men, a total of 113 additional days was handed down in 2016. In comparison, Doncaster prison, also run by Serco and holding about the same number of men, saw 6,981 additional days handed down, equating to an average of one extra week of imprisonment per prisoner.

The Howard League legal team is the only frontline national team specialising in the legal rights and entitlements of children and young people in custody. Adjudications are the most common issue raised in calls to the charity’s legal advice line.

Notes to editors

  1. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  2. Out of control: Punishment in prison can be read on the Howard League website.
  3. Ending the imposition of additional days of imprisonment is a key aim of the Howard League’s campaign to reduce the number of people in prison by reforming the 3 Rs – rules in prison; release from prison; and recall from prison. More information about the campaign can be found on the Howard League website.
  4. The total number of additional days of imprisonment imposed on prisoners in each prison in England and Wales is shown in the tables below:

Public prisons

Prison Additional days imposed by year Average population in 2016
2015 2016
Askham Grange 32 0 118
Aylesbury 8,413 12,100 427
Bedford 245 411 479
Belmarsh 240 331 834
Brinsford 5,098 5,742 375
Bristol 1,414 3,226 520
Brixton 2,620 6,494 775
Buckley Hall 888 1,550 455
Bullingdon 571 583 1,104
Bure 191 324 643
Cardiff 1,683 2,829 785
Channings Wood 2,699 3,187 702
Chelmsford 985 1,123 700
Coldingley 511 2,306 510
Cookham Wood 784 1,059 150
Dartmoor 467 4,551 633
Deerbolt 4,679 3,327 383
Downview1 N/A 93 178
Drake Hall 1,225 1,266 336
Durham 267 558 893
East Sutton Park 0 104 100
Eastwood Park 582 996 358
Elmley 3,160 2,321 1,110
Erlestoke 2,894 2,140 362
Exeter 1,136 3,372 487
Featherstone 3,608 3,045 679
Feltham 1,526 3,027 499
Ford 1,891 973 477
Foston Hall 1,420 972 338
Frankland 237 491 801
Full Sutton 423 472 585
Garth 797 1,706 835
Gartree 0 7 705
Glen Parva 1,726 2,395 509
Grendon/Spring Hill 82 20 541
Guys Marsh 3,296 6,823 559
Hatfield2 N/A 261 332
Haverigg 2,310 2,392 637
Hewell 1,613 2,220 1,202
High Down 1,036 4,341 1,149
Highpoint 5,790 8,066 1,299
Hindley 2,134 3,255 507
Hollesley Bay 10 16 410
Holloway3 540 N/A N/A
Holme House 2,205 1,233 1,161
Hull 583 535 1,015
Humber 1,639 3,090 1,045
Huntercombe 246 143 434
Isis 2,346 6,596 601
Isle of Wight 443 158 1,085
Kennet 2,260 5,917 331
Kirkham 1,577 2,637 605
Kirklevington Grange 86 73 241
Lancaster Farms 6,461 6,357 538
Leeds 186 4,394 1,118
Leicester 906 253 328
Lewes 1,915 1,118 635
Leyhill 36 9 503
Lincoln 425 126 574
Lindholme 3,931 5,686 1,003
Littlehey 512 484 1,215
Liverpool 2,874 3,566 1,050
Long Lartin 311 312 530
Low Newton 653 361 337
Maidstone 49 7 588
Manchester 1,397 2,897 1,004
Moorland 575 1,051 983
Mount, The 2,441 5,328 1,008
New Hall 1,002 848 413
North Sea Camp 20 68 367
Norwich 2,044 2,531 733
Nottingham 2,621 2,096 1,022
Onley 4,235 4,943 740
Pentonville 5,536 9,355 1,302
Portland 4,406 8,380 485
Preston 1,829 976 737
Ranby 2,315 3,984 1,016
Risley 933 2,331 1,095
Rochester 7,317 10,286 744
Send 146 137 276
Stafford 570 626 744
Standford Hill 63 131 460
Stocken 1,216 1,363 749
Stoke Heath 5,216 5,717 755
Styal 1,124 514 473
Sudbury 751 1,177 522
Swaleside 4,080 4,668 1,104
Swansea 1,412 1,219 430
Swinfen Hall 4,024 10,063 604
Thorn Cross 111 0 377
Usk/Prescoed 0 0 527
Wakefield 302 238 720
Wandsworth 4,761 8,131 1,597
Warren Hill 49 0 233
Wayland 4,044 3,583 952
Wealstun 946 1,427 831
Werrington 912 615 116
Wetherby 361 586 270
Whatton 24 303 837
Whitemoor 107 947 439
Winchester 844 1,540 629
Woodhill 562 133 693
Wormwood Scrubs 4,662 3,372 1,258
Wymott 1,304 2,187 1,151
TOTAL (Public prisons) 173,129 247,281 68,814

1 Reopened in May 2016.

2 Recorded as part of Moorland prison prior to 2016.

3 Closed in July 2016.

Private prisons

Prison Operator Additional days imposed by year Average population in 2016
2015 2016
Altcourse G4S 2,255 1,874 1,006
Ashfield Serco 48 145 400
Birmingham G4S 4,138 5,519 1,444
Bronzefield Sodexo 953 580 554
Doncaster Serco 3,420 6,891 999
Dovegate Serco 4,012 3,968 1,109
Forest Bank Sodexo 5,276 4,751 1,408
Lowdham Grange Serco 1,727 3,008 918
Northumberland Sodexo 7,661 4,269 1,341
Oakwood G4S 5,404 3,663 1,566
Parc G4S 5,891 6,293 1,661
Peterborough Sodexo 907 1,202 1,279
Rye Hill G4S 95 48 622
Thameside Serco 432 113 1,212
TOTAL (Private prisons)   42,219 42,324 15,519


Contact

Rob Preece
Campaigns and Communications Manager
The Howard League for Penal Reform
Tel: +44 (0)20 7241 7880
Email: robert.preece@howardleague.org
ISDN line available on 020 7923 4196 – uses a G722 system

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