New figures expose spike in violence in prisons

Key data uncovered by Sadiq Khan, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, has shed further light on the growing levels of violence in our prisons. 

In the space of a year, the number of serious disturbances has risen 60%, and since this Government took office there’s been an increase of three-quarters. 

The spike in violent incidents in our prisons is against the backdrop of severe pressure on prison places, increased overcrowding and fears at the number of attacks on prison staff. 

Sadiq Khan MP,  Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary said: 

“These figures are a further sign of the Government’s failure and lay bare the mess in our prisons on Chris Grayling’s watch. 

“This Government promised us a rehabilitation revolution. Instead, violence has risen by nearly three quarters since 2010. Prisoners are going up and prison staff down. Jails are more overcrowded than ever, and instead of prisoners putting their time to good use working, undertaking training and education they’re idling away in their cells or on prison landings. Prisons are about reforming criminals as well as punishing them. If our jails are dens of violence there is little chance of any rehabilitation." 


Editor’s notes 

  1.  Serious disturbances in prisons result in the calling out of the National Tactical Response Group – the special prison riot squad.
  2. The data uncovered by Sadiq Khan was in answers to parliamentary questions he tabled.
  3. The data for previous years can be found here:
  4. The data for the full year 2013 can be found here:
  5. The data for the past four years is:

                Year                        Call Outs of National Tactical Response Group

                2010                       118

                2011                       133

                2012                       129

                2013                       203

There has been a rise of 57% in call outs in a year (+74)

And since 2010, the number of incidents is up 72% (+85)

In 2013, the prisons recording the most number of incidents were:

                Hindley                 10            (juveniles, and young adult offenders)

                Lindholme            9              (category C and category D)

                Woodhill                9              (local prison, and category A)

                Rye Hill                  7              (category B, run by G4S)

                Wetherby               7              (male juvenile)

                Long Lartin           7              (category A)

                Swinfen Hall         7              (young adults)


The prison population as of Friday 28 February stood at 85,469, with just 441 spaces left in the whole system. This means prisons are now running at 99.5% of capacity, beyond the 99% level when the Government is meant to implement the “emergency footing” for prisons known as Operation Safeguard. 

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