Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, May 19, 1998 Published at 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK


UK

Jail reformers attack overcrowding

Overcrowding contributes to low prisoner morale

More than six out of 10 prisons in England and Wales are overcrowded, with some holding nearly twice as many inmates as they were designed for, penal reformers say.

Shrewsbury jail is in the worst position, with 335 inmates behind walls designed to hold just 182, said the Howard League for Penal Reform.

Conditions in some prisons might be worse than the figures suggest because specific areas within them, such as those holding women or young offenders, are particularly overcrowded, said league director Frances Crook.

The young offender section at New Hall women's prison in West Yorkshire was at 203% capacity, holding 89 girls in space designed for 44.

The juvenile section at west London's Feltham Young Offenders' Institution, holding 15- to 17-year-olds, had 208 boys in accommodation built for just 100.


[ image: More jails are being built to cope with overcrowding]
More jails are being built to cope with overcrowding
Ms Crook said 60% of jails had to feed and find beds for more people than they were designed to hold.

"Prisons are desperately over-full. Basic necessities of life have to be satisfied before it is possible to think about doing something to address offending behaviour.

"With prison numbers continuing to spiral out of control, overcrowding can only get worse," she warned.

Responding to the report, the Prison Service said reducing overcrowding was a key objective, but it was doing what it could to cope with rising numbers of prisoners.

Prisons and Probation Minister Joyce Quin said an extra £112m was being made available this year to increase capacity in the short term and make repairs.

She added: "At the same time the government is making available to sentencers a range of community punishments in which the courts and the public can have confidence."

Director General of the Prison Service, Richard Tilt, said: "A significant building programme means that capacity is increasing all the time. "





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England
Relevant Stories

11 May 98†|†UK
Police watchdog attacks care of prisoners

29 Apr 98†|†UK
'Cut jail numbers to protect public'





Internet Links

HM Prison Service

Howard League for Penal Reform


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online