UK PRISONS ARE SAID TO BE TOO FULL – Convicted criminals could avoid jail from next week

Rapists could be temporarily spared jail, while others could be due for early release, as Britain’s prisons reach capacity.

Senior presiding judge Lord Edis ordered Crown Court judges to delay sentencing hearings for convicted criminals currently out on bail as early as next week according to reports.

The prison population of England and Wales quadrupled in size between 1900 and 2018, with roughly half of this surge coming since getting “tough on crime” became a political watchword in the Nineties.

The average number of inmates held over the past financial year was 81,822. The latest operational capacity estimate, meanwhile, taken last June, arrived at a figure of 82,759.

According to a February report by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the number of prisoners is projected to fly past this threshold to 94,400 by March 2025, and could reach as high as 106,300 by March 2027.

Data reveals some establishments, however, are already dangerously overcrowded.

The MoJ defines crowding as the “number of prisoners who, at unlock on the last day of the month, are held in a cell, cubicle or room where the number of occupants exceeds the uncrowded capacity of the cell, cubicle or room.”

Across Britain, 22.9 percent of all inmates were found to be held in crowded accommodation as of March. 

On an establishment basis, the worst offenders were found to be HMP Exeter – a public male local prison – where data show 84.2 percent of inmates were held in crowded conditions, followed by HMP Durham (81.7 percent) and HMP Wandsworth (81.6 percent).

Although all of the most crowded jails were state-run, the 15 privately managed prisons in England and Wales had a higher crowding rate – 28.3 percent to 21.6 percent.