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.

Visit prisons and probation statistics for data sources and more details.


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.

Escapes from prison establishments and HMPPS escort
Year Escapes from prison establishments and HMPPS escort
2020-21 0
2019-20 2
2018-19 3
2017-18 4
2016-17 7
2015-16 5
2014-15 1
2013-14 4
2012-13 1
2011-12 4
2010-11 2
2009-10 5
2008-09 5
2007-08 6
2006-07 8
2005-06 11
2004-05 20
2003-04 16
2002-03 17
2001-02 26
2000-01 19
1999-00 38
1998-99 35
1997-98 33
1996-97 53
1995-96 88

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.

Escapes from contractor escorts
Year Escapes from contractor escorts
2020-21 5
2019-20 14
2018-19 6
2017-18 9
2016-17 8
2015-16 8
2014-15 12
2013-14 9
2012-13 9
2011-12 13
2010-11 10
2009-10 12
2008-09 15
2007-08 16
2006-07 19
2005-06 17
2004-05 28
2003-04 33
2002-03 33
2001-02 40
2000-01 58
1999-00 59
1998-99 55
1997-98 72
1996-97 78
1995-96 34

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 5


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.

Absconds
Year Absconds
2020-21 101
2019-20 143
2018-19 119
2017-18 139
2016-17 86
2015-16 105
2014-15 181
2013-14 225
2012-13 204
2011-12 175
2010-11 235
2009-10 269
2008-09 361
2007-08 511
2006-07 553
2005-06 709
2004-05 870
2003-04 1,301
2002-03 947
2001-02 781
2000-01 787
1999-00 907
1998-99 965
1997-98 1,056
1996-97 1,115
1995-96 956

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 101

Absconds detail


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.

Temporary release failures
Year Temporary release failures
2020-21 87
2019-20 686
2018-19 543
2017-18 350
2016-17 267
2015-16 162
2014-15 195
2013-14 370
2012-13 430
2011-12 405
2010-11 285
2009-10 272
2008-09 276
2007-08 249
2006-07 316
2005-06 365
2004-05 392

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 87

Temporary release failures detail


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%

Security audit detail

2019-20

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