Leeds Prison inmates were handed an extra 14 years behind bars for breaking rules last year, figures reveal.
Prison reform campaigners say imposing extra jail time as a punishment simply worsens overcrowding, and have called for it to be scrapped as a punitive measure.
Ministry of Justice data shows that prisoners were handed 5,127 extra days behind bars in 2018-19. The additional time was distributed across 288 judgements, meaning 18 days were handed out each time on average.
The type of offence for which prisoners got the most extra time was unauthorised transactions, which include those for alcohol and drugs – prison officials doled out 2,609 days in total for the transgression. Unruly convicts were also slapped with extra days for disobedience or disrespect, and offences including endangering the health or safety of another person, or obstructing an officer.
Prisoners at Leeds received 4 per cent more additional days than the previous year – 4,920 were imposed in 2017-18. The increase reflects the trend across England and Wales, where prisoners were given around 388,000 extra days in 2018-19 – 9% more than the previous year.
Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the growing use of repeated punishment in prisons is a symptom of a failing system. She said: “Imposing additional days of imprisonment does not work. Rather than solving problems, it creates new ones, piling more pressure on the prison population and worsening overcrowding, which in turn leads to more drug abuse and violence.
A spokesperson for the MoJ said: “Having robust punishment available is essential to running a safe prison, so it is absolutely right that anyone who attacks a fellow inmate or smuggles drugs or phones should face longer behind bars.”