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Introduction There are more than 85,000 prisoners in about 160 jails in the UK. The vast majority of them are in England and Wales, where more than 77,000.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction There are more than 85,000 prisoners in about 160 jails in the UK. The vast majority of them are in England and Wales, where more than 77,000."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Introduction There are more than 85,000 prisoners in about 160 jails in the UK. The vast majority of them are in England and Wales, where more than 77,000 prisoners are currently held. While prisons vary, the majority of the 130,000 people entering the system each year - many for just weeks or months - will find similar facilities. The BBC News website took a tour of Chelmsford Prison, to see how a jail works.

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4 Reception and first night All prisoners pass through reception, which is responsible for checking identities and monitoring numbers. New arrivals are strip searched and issued with prison clothes. They are seen by a nurse, to identify those coming off drugs, on medication or feeling suicidal. At Chelmsford Prison, reception also has segregation cells where violent prisoners or those deemed at risk may be kept for a short time.

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6 Prison accommodation Accommodation varies between prisons, ranging from single cells to dormitories. A typical wing will also include recreation areas, showers, offices and a food servery. At Chelmsford Prison some of the accommodation is modern, some of it Victorian. Cells have toilets and prisoners are allowed TVs. A renovation programme is working its way through the prison.

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8 Prison accommodation Accommodation varies between prisons, ranging from single cells to dormitories. A typical wing will also include recreation areas, showers, offices and a food servery. At Chelmsford Prison some of the accommodation is modern, some of it Victorian. Cells have toilets and prisoners are allowed TVs. A renovation programme is working its way through the prison.

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10 Multi-faith centre An Anglican chaplain normally takes overall responsibility for spiritual care at prisons, but will cater for many faiths. Prisoners of different religions may well share the same facilities - with services for each held during the week. At Chelmsford Prison, the multi-faith centre hosts Roman Catholic Mass, Church of England services and Muslim Friday prayers. The chaplaincy team also includes a Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh among others.

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12 Kitchen Prison kitchens have to keep inmates well fed on a tight budget.Breakfast, lunch and an evening meal cost an average of £1.87 per prisoner per day. Young offenders' institutes spend £3.81 per day.Prisons now cater for a wide variety of diets and often offer healthy options.Many jails no longer have dining halls and prisoners will often eat in their cells.

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14 Exercise All prisons have sports facilities, to encourage exercise and good health among prisoners. New gym equipment and a sports hall are available at Chelmsford Prison. The gym is used by about 70% of prisoners and is also open to staff. Gym staff have worked on tackling drugs through sport and work closely with the healthcare unit.

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16 Prison visits Facilities for visitors vary, but many prisons have a waiting area with basic amenities. Prison staff make sure that a visit is allowed and that visitors have the right paperwork. At Chelmsford Prison, a sniffer dog checks that visitors are not carrying drugs. Most visits take place in a designated room. Family visits, with toys and a play area for children, are held once a month.

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18 Prison population Nowhere in Western Europe jails more of its population than England and Wales, where 143 people per 100,000 are in prison. Since the start of 1993 the prison population has risen 90% - from 41,600 to more than 79,600 in autumn In Scotland the population rose 11% to 6,447 between and In Northern Ireland the number fell during the 90s, but has since risen.

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20 Prisoners' sentences Violent offenders are the biggest group in jails in England and Wales, followed by those convicted of drugs offences. More than 6,400 people are serving life sentences - the highest number in Europe. The number of people found guilty by courts is stable, but the proportion jailed has risen. About one in six prisoners is being held on remand.

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22 Prison overcrowding Many jails have more prisoners than their target limit, but meet a level considered safe. At the end of August 2006, 87 prisons (about 60%) were overcrowded in this way. According to this definition, the prison system has been overcrowded every year since More than 17,000 extra spaces have been built since 1997 and capacity will soon reach 80,400.

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24 Social characteristics Almost half of prisoners ran away as a child - compared to 11% of the general population. About one in three female and half of male prisoners were excluded from school and a majority have no qualifications. Less than 5% of the general population have two or more mental disorders, compared to 72% of male and 70% of female sentenced prisoners.

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26 Suicide and self harm In 2005, 78 prisoners committed suicide in jails in England and Wales - down from 95 in Male local prisons accounted for 60% of the deaths. The suicide rate was also high among women. Jails are also under pressure to reduce self-harm. There were more than 20,000 such incidents in , with the rate particularly high among women.

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28 Leaving prison Re-offending rates among offenders are high – 67% are reconvicted within two years of release. Among men aged the rate is 78%. Accommodation problems are common – nearly one in three will not have somewhere to live upon release. A majority of prisoners will have no job to go to and 60% of employers automatically exclude those with a criminal record.


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