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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

Official statistics obtained by the Howard League for Penal Reform show that recorded assault incidents in prison in England and Wales have risen by 61 per cent between 2000 and 2009.

This rise in violence cannot simply be attributed to the ever increasing rise in prison numbers, as the average prison population increased by 29 per cent during the same period.

In 2009 there was a total of 15,180 acts of violence in English and Welsh prisons, more than 40 a day. Serious incidents of violence have increased by 66 per cent.

Staff at Hindley young offenders institution, the largest child prison in Europe, are particularly affected with assaults on staff up by an astonishing 967 per cent, and Feltham staff are being assaulted at an increased rate of 288 per cent.

Between 2000 and 2009, there were the following notable rises in specific acts of prison violence:

  • Assaults with a weapon up 44 per cent
  •  Assaults requiring hospital treatment up 61 per cent
  • Fractures and broken bones/teeth up by 27 per cent from 139 to 204 incidents
  • Non-white victims of assault up by 138 per cent
  • Foreign nationals are now 197 per cent more likely to be a victim of assault
  • 41 per cent increase in prisoner on officer assaults in male prisons
  • 59 per cent increase in serious prisoner on officer assaults in male and female prisons

There were no recorded assault incidences involving excreta/urine between 2000 and 2006, but within two years assaults of this kind increased from zero to 253 in 2009.

Howard League Director Frances Crook commented:

"This shocking rise in violence is far above what might be expected as we lock up ever increasing numbers of men, women and children whose mental health problems and addictions will never be properly treated within our flooded and failing jails. As these are recorded statistics, it is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg with real levels of assaults much higher than the prison service is admitting."
"Overcrowded, squalid prison conditions lead to rioting, violence and chaos, which is dangerous for prisoners, staff and local communities. Often people leave prison more damaged and dangerous than when they first went in having spent time in our colleges of crime.
"This is why it is time for the government to look at wholesale reform of the penal system. As the Justice Secretary has stated, we should be spending more of taxpayers' money on programmes that work in reducing offending and making society safer, rather than expanding further what is already a violent, failing prison system."

In 2009, there were 15,180 assault incidents in the prison estate that resulted in a prisoner being hospitalised but in the same year the prison service only launched 1,638 serious incident investigations.