Weekly Prison Watch

Latest prison population figures

Week ending Friday 29 May 2015

This week there are 85,669 people in prisons and young offender institutions in England and Wales. The male prison population is 81,751 and the female prison population is 3,918.

There are 75 fewer people in prison than last week, and 751 more people compared to this time last year.

The child custody population at the end of March 2015 was 1,004. This a rise of 12 since last month but a fall of 153 compared to last year.

There are 38 girls in custody.

The current CNA level is 76,988 meaning that 8,681 men and women are being held above this level. CNA (Certified Normal Accommodation) is the prison service’s own measure of how many prisoners can be held in decent and safe accommodation.

5 most overcrowded prisons

Prison name               

CNA / Population

Number over CNA

% of CNA

Leeds (HMPS)

669/ 1,196



Swansea (HMPS)

242/ 420



Wandsworth (HMPS)

943/ 1,607



Exeter (HMPS)

318/ 517



Leicester (HMPS)

214/ 348



Latest quarterly figures

The most recent set of Ministry of Justice statistics show that on 30 September 2014 there were:

  • 12,322 men, women and children are held on remand in prison
  • 6,659 people are serving short sentences (less than 12 months)
  • 4,894 people are held on the now abolished indeterminate IPP sentences, of whom 3,608 (73 per cent) have passed their tariff expiry date

And that between July and September 2014:

  • There were 26,391 first receptions into custody
  • 10,865 people were sent to prison to serve a short sentence (less than 12 months)

Week by week prison population breakdown

A week by week breakdown from 2004 onwards.

Deaths in custody 2014

235 people died in prison in 2014. 

  • 127 people died of natural causes
  • 82 deaths were self-inflicted
  • 2 homicides
  • 24 deaths are yet to be classified

The Howard League routinely monitors all deaths in prisons. We have joined with a number of organisations to sign a letter to the Prime Minister, led by the charity Sense in Science, to raise awareness about the late registration of cause of death following a death requiring an inquest; there are still some deaths in prison dating back to 2010.


This update uses the most recent version of the following publications: