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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 02:34 GMT
Over 108,000 in detention in UK
Cell door
A prison ship is one option to increase prison place numbers
More than 108,000 people are being held in detention in Britain, amounting to two in every 1,000, a survey suggests.

The Criminal Justice Matters magazine study includes prisoners and others such as mental health patients and detainees in immigration centres.

The research said jail totals were 81,700 in England and Wales, 7,600 in Scotland and 1,500 in Northern Ireland.

Magazine co-editor Rebecca Roberts said there was a need to think more critically about the use of detention.

She said: "The high number of people in detention raises important moral, ethical and political questions.

"It also challenges us to think more critically about the role of the state and the extent to which detention is used as a form of social control."

The magazine, which is the journal of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College London, said there were a further 14,600 held under the Mental Health Act, 2,300 in immigrant detention centres and about 470 in child prisons and secure children's homes.

The figures did not include the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act in Wales.

There are also an extra 400 people being held in police cells due to prison overcrowding.

And since the figures were collected during the first two weeks of February, in England and Wales a further 200 people have been incarcerated.

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