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.

The total UK prison population is 125,847 (0.13% of the population), 121,928 men (0.26% of men in the country) and 3,919 women (0.01% of women in the country).[1] Men are 22 times as likely as women to be imprisoned.

Prison population[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.[2]


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.[3] 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.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-population-figures-2015
  2. ^ Travis, Alan (2009-09-25). "Revealed: the hidden army in UK prisons". The Guardian. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  3. ^ a b Jamie Doward and Gaby Bissett (6 July 2014). "Rolf Harris leaves behind gilded lifestyle for vulnerable prison unit". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 

External links[edit]