Justice and Prisons

Notes from the Summer 2021 CTSA Forum

80,000 people are in custody in this country – leaders in Europe and level with America.  But it is said that “prison always does harm” and that prison is “a monsoon designed to was away your humanity”.

The law enforces over 25 years for murderers, judges hands are tied.  We only have prisons for 35,000 people but we have put 80,000 in them .  In Denmark prisoners have far more access to their families.  We are losing prion places as facilities have to close due to safety concerns.  We need more funding and more prisons and fewer people sent to prison for less time.  How we treat prisoners reflects on what we are like as a society.

Prison is not full of monsters, but vulnerable people.  Prison officers are very aware of their duty of care.  Many young offenders have undiagnosed psychiatric disorders.  Some young offenders find feel safe in custody for the first time in their lives, but custody can become home to them.  Prison does not work as a deterent.  Prisoners do not normally come out better than they went in, but there is reform sometimes.

Local chaplaincy needs support..  Mentoring and education needs more help.  What do other countries do?  Holland, is better at reducing prison population by treating the causes of crime.  Prisons need better funding.


Source: https://data.justice.gov.uk/prisons


  • 80,000 in custody
  • 13,000 on probation

170,000 in community

  • 70,000 post release
  • 64,000 community order
  • 40,000 suspended sentence


  • 80,000 prisoners
  • 7,000 serving life
  • 2,000 indeterminate for public protection
  • Over 1,000 jailed each week (14,000 first receptions per quarter), 800 released
  • Average age 35
  • 30% violence, 20% theft or robbery, 18% sex, 16% drug, 10% robbery (force or threat) 10% theft, 10
  • 22% in crowded accommodation
  • 27 per hundred prisoners prisoner on prisoner assaults
  • 12 per hundred prisoners assaults on staff
  • 78 self harm incidents per 100
  • 17% find accommodation on first night of release
  • 4% employed 6 weeks after release


  • 121 prisons 99 male, 11 female, 1 youth, 1 immigration
  • 22% overcrowding “crowding”
  • Some 0% Bedford 55%, The Mount 4%, Usk 86%




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