by Steve Beasant on 26 August, 2017
Prisons could be effectively full within four years with the number of inmates predicted to hit a historic high.
Imposing longer sentences could lead to nearly 92,000 behind bars – a record in the modern era.
The figure was revealed in projections for England and Wales published yesterday by the Ministry of Justice. The move will be welcomed by the Tory Right as a sign the Government is taking a harder line on law and order.
But critics warned that a surge in the number of prisoners would lead to spiralling levels of overcrowding, violence and self-harm – already at all-time highs.
Only last week Justice Secretary David Lidington said he wanted ‘to see prison numbers come down’.
The prison population is currently 86,388. If custodial sentences maintain today’s trends, that number is predicted to rise to 88,000 by March 2022.
But the MoJ warned there was a possibility the number of criminals locked up could hit 91,800 by June 2021. There are currently places for 87,053 prisoners in jails – the so-called operational capacity.
‘Our prisons are already bursting at the seams. Under current plans there simply won’t be enough places to cope with this huge surge in prisoner numbers.
‘The Government is recklessly rolling the dice on the future of our prison system. Ministers need to get a grip and urgently take action to reduce overcrowding in our jails.’Leave a comment