United Kingdom prison population

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The United Kingdom has three distinct legal systems with a separate prison system in each: one for both England and Wales, one for Scotland, and one for Northern Ireland. One of the highest rates of incarceration in Western Europe was reported for England and Wales, with an average of 148 people in prison for every 100,000 people in 2006; this rate was just ahead of Scotland, in which 139 per 100,000 people was imprisoned.[1]

Prison population[edit]

Using data from 2014, the total UK prison population is around 86,000. As of 14 November 2014, the population of women in prison in the UK is 3,956. And the male population is 81,905.[2]

Veterans[edit]

A growing number of British prisoners are former armed forces members. According to a study reported in the Guardian in 2009, 8,500 former servicemen were imprisoned, making up almost 10% of the prison population.[3]

Religion[edit]

12,000 people in British prisons are Muslims. At least 100 of them are radical Islamists.[4]

Over-60s[edit]

The number of British prisoners aged over 60 years has risen by 130% between 2002 and 2013, a shift attributed to an increase in the convictions for historic sex abuse. The increase was reported after the 2012 commencement of Operation Yewtree, a police investigation into sexual abuse allegations—predominantly the abuse of children—against the British media personality Jimmy Savile and others.[5] In relation to over 4,000 over-60 prisoners in UK prisons, Professor David Wilson of Birmingham City University stated in July 2014:

Four out of 10 of these prisoners (the over-60s) were convicted of sex offences and people over 60 are the fastest growing age group in the prison estate, yet there is no national strategy for the elderly who get sent to prison ... The Prison Service needs to develop a strategy to cope with this fastest growing section of the prison population or they will simply be failing in their duty of care to the elderly people that they are locking up.[5]

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