£28,000 annual cost of locking up each inmate at Leeds jail

Leeds Prison (Armley Jail)
Leeds Prison (Armley Jail)
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IT cost the taxpayer more than £28,000 to lock up each inmate at HMP Leeds at Armley for the past 12 months, according to figures in a new Ministry of Justice national report.

The annual £28,477 cost of housing each prisoner at HMP Leeds for 2016/17 is up by more than seven per cent from the 2015/16 annual cost of £26,393, according to the report.

The report also reveals the scale of overcrowding at HMP Leeds.

It states that the prison service’s ‘certified normal accommodation’ at HMP Leeds is 669 prisoners, but the jail currently houses an average of 1,150 prisoners.

The latest annual cost of housing one inmate at HM Wetherby Young Offender Institution – which has an average of 258 inmates – is revealed as £76,763, a rise of 3.65 per cent on the 2015/16 figure of £74,059.

The annual cost of housing one inmate at top security HMP Wakefield for 2016/17 is £46,796, compared to £47,221 for 2015/16. HMP Wakefield has an average population of 751 prisoners.

And new Ministry of Justice data shows violence in prisons in England and Wales is continuing to surge with assaults and self-harm at record levels

Assaults inside jails increased to a record high of 27,193 incidents in the year to June 2017.

There were also a record number of assaults on staff, with 7,437 incidents recorded - a rise of a quarter from the previous year.

Over the same period, self-harm in prisons reached a record high of 41,103 incidents, an increase of 12% from the previous 12 months.

The record high in number of assaults on staff was caused by a nine per cent rise in the latest quarter, creating a new quarterly record high of 2,011 incidents.

The number of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults was the highest recorded since the data series began, at 19,678.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths in custody in the year up to September fell to 300 - a fall of 24 from the previous 12 months.

Some 77 of these were self-inflicted deaths, down 33 from the previous year.

Figures from the Howard League for Penal Reform show eight jails in Yorkshire are currently housing more prisoners than the ‘certified normal accommodation’ (CNA) levels.

The league says the CNA levels are the prison service’s own measure of how many prisoners can be held in decent and safe accommodation in the prison.

The league has released figures which Show Doncaster has a CNA of 738 inmates but an actual prison population of 1,134 at the end of last month; Hull has a CNA of 723 but an actual prison population of 1,028; Humber’s CNA is 947 compared to an actual prison population of 1,035; Lindholme at Doncaster has a CNA of 924 with an actual prison population of 1,014; Moorland at Doncaster has a CNA of 943 with an actual prison population of 992; New Hall women’s prison at Wakefield has a CNA of 371 with an actual population of 397; Wealstun at Wetherby has a CNA of 809 with an actual population of 823.

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Eight of Yorkshire’s prisons are holding more people than they are designed to accommodate, and the strain on resources is particularly evident in Leeds, Hull and Doncaster.

“It costs tens of thousands of pounds to keep someone in prison for just one year, but taxpayers and victims are not getting value for money.

“Overcrowding has contributed to record levels of violence and self-injury, and these are problems that will affect everyone when they spill out into communities.

“Reducing the prison population would save taxpayers’ money. But, more importantly, it would also save lives, protect staff and prevent more people being swept into deeper currents of crime, violence and despair.”