Public protection

To protect the public, prisons must hold prisoners securely. This not only prevents further offences being committed, but is an important foundation for the wider work of prisons in reforming offenders.

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A prisoner escapes from prison if they unlawfully gain their liberty (for 15 minutes or more) by breaching the secure perimeter of a closed prison, or if during prison staff escort, overcome the control of escorting staff and leave the escort, the van or the building (hospital etc.). Those who escape for less than 15 minutes and commit an offence are also recorded as an escape.

Escapes are monitored to analyse the frequency across the estate and identify any trends nationally, also taking into consideration the management of risk to the public.

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Period Escapes from prison establishments and HMPPS escort
Apr 1995 to Mar 1996 88
Apr 1996 to Mar 1997 53
Apr 1997 to Mar 1998 33
Apr 1998 to Mar 1999 35
Apr 1999 to Mar 2000 38
Apr 2000 to Mar 2001 19
Apr 2001 to Mar 2002 26
Apr 2002 to Mar 2003 17
Apr 2003 to Mar 2004 16
Apr 2004 to Mar 2005 20
Apr 2005 to Mar 2006 11
Apr 2006 to Mar 2007 8
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 6
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 5
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 5
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 2
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 4
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 1
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 4
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 1
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 5
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 7
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 4
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 3
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 2
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 0

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 0

Data source HM Prison and Probation Service annual digest


Escapes from contractor escorts

A prisoner escapes from escort if they unlawfully gain their liberty (for 15 minutes or more) by overcoming the control of escorting staff and leave the escort, the van or the building (hospital etc.). Those who escape for less than 15 minutes and commit an offence are also recorded as an escape.

Escapes are monitored to analyse the frequency across the estate and identify any trends nationally, also taking into consideration the management of risk to the public.

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Period Escapes from contractor escorts
Apr 1995 to Mar 1996 34
Apr 1996 to Mar 1997 78
Apr 1997 to Mar 1998 72
Apr 1998 to Mar 1999 55
Apr 1999 to Mar 2000 59
Apr 2000 to Mar 2001 58
Apr 2001 to Mar 2002 40
Apr 2002 to Mar 2003 33
Apr 2003 to Mar 2004 33
Apr 2004 to Mar 2005 28
Apr 2005 to Mar 2006 17
Apr 2006 to Mar 2007 19
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 16
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 15
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 12
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 10
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 13
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 9
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 9
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 12
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 8
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 8
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 9
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 6
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 14
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 5

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 5

Data source HM Prison and Probation Service annual digest


An abscond is an escape that does not involve overcoming a physical security restraint such as that provided by a wall or fence, locks, bolts or bars, a secure vehicle, handcuffs or the direct supervision of staff.

Absconds are monitored to analyse the frequency across the open estate and identify any trends nationally also taking into consideration, the management of risk to the public. It is only possible to abscond from open prison conditions.

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Period Absconds
Apr 1995 to Mar 1996 956
Apr 1996 to Mar 1997 1,115
Apr 1997 to Mar 1998 1,056
Apr 1998 to Mar 1999 965
Apr 1999 to Mar 2000 907
Apr 2000 to Mar 2001 787
Apr 2001 to Mar 2002 781
Apr 2002 to Mar 2003 947
Apr 2003 to Mar 2004 1,301
Apr 2004 to Mar 2005 870
Apr 2005 to Mar 2006 709
Apr 2006 to Mar 2007 553
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 511
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 361
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 269
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 235
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 175
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 204
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 225
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 181
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 105
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 86
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 139
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 119
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 143
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 101

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 101

Data source HM Prison and Probation Service annual digest


Release On Temporary Licence (ROTL) allows eligible prisoners to be temporarily released for precisely defined activities that cannot be provided in prisons.

A failure occurs when a prisoner fails to adhere to any condition written into the licence that permits their temporary release. Such conditions include the date and time by which the prisoner is required to return to the prison and may also place restrictions on where the prisoner may go and whom they may visit during the period of release.

Prisoners must be fully risk assessed before release is granted and must sign a temporary release licence setting out the applicable conditions and the duration of the licence.

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Period Temporary release failures
Apr 2004 to Mar 2005 392
Apr 2005 to Mar 2006 365
Apr 2006 to Mar 2007 316
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 249
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 276
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 272
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 285
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 405
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 430
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 370
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 195
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 162
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 267
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 350
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 543
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 686
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 87

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 87

Data source Offender management statistics quarterly


An internal audit that assesses, on a four point scale, the level to which effective security procedures are adhered to within each prison.

There is no structured frequency for how often the security audit takes place, with the exception of long term high security prison establishments which are audited annually. The data presented here shows the most recent assessment for each prison establishment.

The summary percentage is based on audits published internally by HMPPS. The annual prison performance ratings publication includes audits which had not been published when it was released and were therefore suppressed from the data tables. Including these suppressed scores, the overall percentage of prisons scoring a 3 or 4 is 85.7%

Data source: Prison performance ratings

2019-20

Security audit Count
Rating 1 6
Rating 2 8
Rating 3 56
Rating 4 38