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United Kingdom (UK): prison population 2011-2020, by gender

There were approximately 77.42 thousand men and 3.41 thousand women in prison in the United Kingdom as of May 2019. Compared with 2011, this represented a net decrease of around three thousand men and seven hundred women. Since 1978 the year with the highest number of prisoners was 2012 when there were over 86.6 people imprisoned.

Demographics of prisoners
In 2018, there were over 25 thousand prisoners in their 30s, the most of any age group. In this year there were also 645 prisoners who were aged between 15 and 17, with a further 4.2 thousand prisoners who were aged between 18 and 20. In terms of the ethnicity of prisoners in England and Wales, 73 percent of people in jail were white, while a further 13 percent were black.

Prison officers at a six-year high
The 22.6 thousand prison officers working in England and Wales was the most since 2012 when there were 22.7 thousand. The year with the lowest number of prison officers was 2015 when there were just 18.2 thousand, 7 thousand fewer than there were in 2010. This decrease was the direct result of austerity measures pursued by the coalition government of the time.

Prison population in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2011 to 2020, by gender

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Release date

May 2020


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2011 to 2020

Supplementary notes

As of the first Friday of May in each year.

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Statistics on "Prisons in England and Wales"

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