Every inmate at HMP Wakefield costs the taxpayers £46,800, report reveals

Every inmate at HMP Wakefield cost the taxpayer almost £46,800 in the last year according to figures published a new Ministry of Justice national report

Friday, 27th October 2017, 1:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:46 am

However, the costs for jail - which houses around 750 prisoners - are down from the previous year when it cost more than £47,220 for each lag.

As a top-security institution, the figures are still much higher than HMP Armley where the costs were around £28,000 a year, but much lower than HMP Wetherby Young Offender’s Institution where costs exceeded £76,700 - a rise of 3.5 per cent on the previous year.

Worryingly, the report 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 per cent 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.”