Weekly Prison Watch

Latest prison population figures

Week ending Friday 27 March 2015

This week there are 85,681 people in prisons and young offender institutions in England and Wales. The male prison population is 81,815 and the female prison population is 3,866.

There are 105 more people in prison than last week. There are 343 more people compared to this time last year.

The child custody population at the end of December 2014 was 981. This a rise of 24 since last month but a fall of 203 compared to last year.

There are 33 girls in custody.

The current CNA level is 76,756 meaning that 8,925 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/ 1,205



Swansea (HMPS)

242/ 433



Wandsworth (HMPS)

943/ 1,633



Leicester (HMPS)

214/ 364



Exeter (HMPS)

318/ 522



Latest quarterly figures

The most recent set of Ministry of Justice statistics show that on 31 June 2014 there were:

  • 12,197 men, women and children are held on remand in prison
  • 6,650 people are serving short sentences (below 12 months)
  • 5,119 people are held on the now abolished indeterminate IPP sentences, of whom 3,620 (70 per cent) have passed their tariff expiry date

And that between January and March 2014:

  • 26,151 people were sent to prison in total, of whom:
  • 11,196 people were sent to prison to serve a short sentence (below 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: