April 15, 2021

Prisons: United Kingdom

This page contains documents and resources on the penal systems in the United Kingdom. There are three distinct penal systems in the United Kingdom-The Criminal Justice System in the United Kingdom. Unlike the United States with three intersecting structures of a single penal system: Jails, State prisons, and Federal prisons, the United Kingdom consists of three different penal systems: England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Each of these nations comprising of the United Kingdom have independent penal systems not akin to the United States Federal penal system.

The documents associated with this page reflect what is distinct to these penal systems in relation to the welfare of prisoners. The Center for Church and Prison, Inc. analyzes the influences of religion, race and poverty in the sentences process and prisoners’ welfare within the context of resource development and intervention. This page will seek to provide the readers with important documents and resources in that light.

United Kingdom Prison Population Statistics “Prisons are a devolved, so UK prison statistics are published separately for England and Wales (the Ministry of Justice), Scotland (the Scottish Government), and Northern Ireland (the Department of Justice). This briefing also compares the UK with other countries.
Weekly prison population data are available for England, Wales and Scotland and quarterly data are available for Northern Ireland. The latest available data show a current prison population of approximately 87,900, comprising
• 79,453 in England and Wales1,
• 7,004 in Scotland2, and
• 1,484 in Northern Ireland (these at the end of June 2019).3

The prison population has fallen since lockdown measures were introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the end of February, the UK prison population has shrunk by around 5,500 people or 6%.4
In addition to these snapshots, all jurisdictions publish the average annual prison population, which was approximately 82,935 in England and Wales in 2019, and 7,789 in Scotland and 1,448 in Northern Ireland for the financial year 2018/19.”

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