Friday, January 22, 2010

Two prison statistics

The most common offence for which women prisoners are incarcerated is shoplifting. The average cost of imprisonment per prisoner is nearly £40,000 a year.


  1. Agree with anonymous above. There must be a more sensible way of dealing with shop-lifters - but don't underestimate the effect of shop-lifting. I work for a charity and some people steal from us regularly! I know some people steal to meet their basic needs - but some steal because they think it is alright to steal other people's belongings.

    We seem to have a lot of anonymous people on here - why do you want to remain so?

  2. £40,000 a year? And you have been in for 30 years. Let me see, even given the price of inflation (it was not always 40K)I would like Jack Straw to justify why my taxes are being spent in this way. I read your blog How to Serve 30 Years and can see that the system is a mess. Furthermore,to detain a woman in prison for shoplifting, when she may have been desperate, is insane. Community service and training for employment would make more sense. With their mother in prison, more damage is being done to the family if the kids then go into care. Crazy.

  3. I would day as an ex women prisoner, 90% are in for drugs, that's either importation, or doing a crime (inc shoplifting) to pay for a drug habbit. I was told by the governor in 2003 the cost was £28K a year.

  4. Drugs lies behind much of the shoplifting, even if the latter is the official charge.

  5. Yes, madalbert, drugs, drugs. And let's not overlook the care-in-the-community role of our prisons.

    Yes, too many Anons on this blog. In response to Anon 3, the cost pa is £49,200 if you accept this analysis:

  6. "83 per cent of women in Holloway had previously been victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. Many of them may have used alcohol and/or drugs to get over the pain they felt. Many of them had no money and if you are alcohol or drug addicted and have no money what do you do? You steal. And if you steal you obviously break the law. If you become addicted you have to feed that addiction so you can’t go to work, your job spirals, your kids get taken away."

    Baroness Scotland (then Home Office minister - now Attoney General) writing in the Voice 2006.

    This quote both reinforces critics of the mass imprisonment of women who have been victims of far more serious crimes than the relatively minor offence they are imprisoned for and demonstrates that the government is fully aware of what they are doing.

    Scotland continued, in a clever lawyer way,

    "So we have people in prison who may not be violent, who may not be dangerous but they are certainly persistent."

  7. The cost to the taxpayer of my accommodation and support in residential care is £54,000+ per year. As insane as the cost of imprisoning someone. Yet the government's own rules prevent me from earning and contributing to fees or taxes. And there's no viable alternative for me to escape.
    All of which leads me to believe, in prisons and in other institutions, the government is more concerned about popular perceptions and public opinion than in what's right or what taxes should be spent on.


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