Expenditure on prisons in the United Kingdom (UK) 2009-2019

The United Kingdom spent approximately 4.56 billion British pounds on its prison system in 2018/19, an increase when compared to the previous year. Despite this, the United Kingdom is still spending around 40 million pounds less than it did in 2010/11, due mainly to the austerity policies pursued by the coalition Government of the time.

Decline in officer numbers
As of March 2019, there were around 22.63 thousand prison officers working in England and Wales, a seven-year high and an increase of 1.59 thousand people from 2016/17. The number of prison officers has naturally followed a similar pattern to the levels of funding provided by the government, so as funding fell after 2010, so too did officer numbers.

Rise in assaults
The fall in officer numbers and funding precipitated a steep rise in the number of assaults in prisons. In 2017 there were over 29 thousand assaults among prisoners, and a further 8.4 thousand assaults on prison staff in England and Wales. Just a few years earlier in 2014, there were 16.2 thousand assaults among prisoners and 3.6 thousand attacks on staff.

Public sector expenditure on prisons in the United Kingdom from 2009/10 to 2018/19

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Release date

July 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period

April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2019

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Statistics on "Government spending in the public sector in the UK"

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