Safety and order

Prisons need to be and feel safe for both staff and prisoners. Violent incidents are the most obvious issue, but this is also about wider culture and atmosphere of the prison and the support it provides to vulnerable prisoners.

Audits and inspections are reported on a 4-point scale, from 1 (lowest rating) to 4 (highest rating).

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


Prisoner on prisoner assaults per 1,000 prisoners

Assaults in prison custody cover a wide range of violent incidents including fights between prisoners.

From time to time, events in prison custody and developments within and outside the Ministry of Justice have changed the way safety in prisons is viewed and managed. Some have resulted in changes to the way offenders are managed, others have affected the way statistics are collected and reported.

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Period Prisoner on prisoner assaults per 1,000 prisoners
Apr 2003 to Mar 2004 123
Apr 2004 to Mar 2005 131
Apr 2005 to Mar 2006 146
Apr 2006 to Mar 2007 144
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 154
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 153
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 142
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 134
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 144
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 130
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 138
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 152
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 195
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 227
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 262
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 296
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 267
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 148

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 148

Dec-2021

In the 12 months to Dec 2021 there were 169 prisoner on prisoner assaults per 1,000 prisoners.

Data source Safety in custody statistics


Assaults on staff per 1,000 prisoners

Assaults in prison custody cover a wide range of violent incidents including attacks on staff.

From time to time, events in prison custody and developments within and outside Ministry of Justice have changed the way safety in prisons is viewed and managed. Some have resulted in changes to the way offenders are managed, others have affected the way statistics are collected and reported.

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Period Assaults on staff per 1,000 prisoners
Apr 2003 to Mar 2004 38
Apr 2004 to Mar 2005 42
Apr 2005 to Mar 2006 45
Apr 2006 to Mar 2007 43
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 40
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 39
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 36
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 34
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 36
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 35
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 40
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 46
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 63
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 84
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 106
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 124
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 118
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 95

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 95

Dec-2021

In the 12 months to Dec 2021 there were 101 assaults on staff per 1,000 prisoners.

Data source Safety in custody statistics


The MQPL survey of prisoners' perceptions is a validated way of gauging the quality of Decency and Safety, which are vital business aims but difficult to define and measure by other means.

Questionnaire scores are made more meaningful by comparing them to what might typically be expected from prisons of a similar type, but the comparison should not be judged at face value without reference to the specific context of the prison in question.

The MQPL survey is undertaken as a part of a rolling three-year programme. 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 79.5%

Data source: Prison performance ratings

2019-20

MQPL safety audit Count
Rating 1 7
Rating 2 15
Rating 3 83
Rating 4 9

An independent assessment by HMIP of the level to which prisoners, even the most vulnerable, are held safely.

HMIP inspections are undertaken about once every three years. The data presented here shows the most recent assessment for each prison establishment.

Data source: Prison performance ratings

2019-20

HMIP safety inspection Count
1 - poor 10
2 - not sufficiently good 43
3 - reasonably good 32
4 - good 29

Internal audit of recording of reportable incidents on the incident reporting system (IRS).

The IRS data quality audit is carried out approximately annually. The data presented here shows the most recent assessment for each prison establishment.

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 81.5%.

Data source: Prison performance ratings

2019-20

Incident reporting system data quality audit Count
Rating 1 2
Rating 2 18
Rating 3 30
Rating 4 43

Assaults subset of the internal audit of recording of reportable incidents on the incident reporting system (IRS).

Data source: Prison performance ratings

2019-20

Incident reporting system assaults check Count
Did not achieve target 5
Achieved target 79

Self-harm subset of the internal audit of recording of reportable incidents on the incident reporting system (IRS).

Data source: Prison performance ratings

2019-20

Incident reporting system self-harm check Count
Did not achieve target 11
Achieved target 71

Self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners

Self-harm in prison covers a wide range of severity and type of incident, including cutting, overdose or hanging.

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Period Self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 278
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 312
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 297
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 310
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 280
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 266
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 278
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 320
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 404
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 474
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 549
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 700
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 777
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 662

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 662

Dec-2021

In the 12 months to Dec 2021 there were 688 self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners.

Data source Safety in custody statistics


Self inflicted deaths

The number of self inflicted deaths in prisons.

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Period Self inflicted deaths
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 67
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 52
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 90
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 79
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 103
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 116
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 74
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 88
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 83
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 80
Apr 2021 to Mar 2022 75

Apr 2021 to Mar 2022 75

Mar-2022

In the 12 months to Mar 2022 there were 75 self-inflicted deaths.

Data source Safety in custody statistics


The number of incidents where where one or more offenders deny access to all or part of a prison to those lawfully empowered to have such access, by use of a physical barrier.

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Period Barricades or prevention of access
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 521
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 524
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 446
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 430
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 554
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 475
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 669
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 929
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 1,229
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 1,320
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 1,406
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 1,737
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 1,882
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 1,217

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 1,217

Data source HM Prison and Probation Service annual digest


The number of incidents where one or more persons are, unlawfully, held against their will by one or more individuals (either static or on the move), including hostage incidents where collusion was suspected or confirmed.

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Period Hostage incidents
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 38
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 25
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 19
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 20
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 50
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 54
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 91
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 113
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 129
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 128
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 127
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 98
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 86
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 38

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 38

Data source HM Prison and Probation Service annual digest


The number of incidents in which two or more prisoners act together in defiance of a lawful instruction or against the requirements of the regime of the establishment. The act of indiscipline can be active or passive (i.e. involving aggression and violence or not) and the protagonists do not necessarily need to be acting in a common cause.

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Period Concerted indiscipline
Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 118
Apr 2008 to Mar 2009 127
Apr 2009 to Mar 2010 98
Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 98
Apr 2011 to Mar 2012 117
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 99
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 151
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 206
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 276
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 380
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 339
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 351
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 267
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 159

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 159

Data source HM Prison and Probation Service annual digest


The number of incidents at height in prisons. An incident at height is defined as any incident taking place at height above or below ground level. This category can come in many forms including prisoners on the netting, climbing over bars or on the roof.

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Period Incidents at height
Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 738
Apr 2013 to Mar 2014 1,281
Apr 2014 to Mar 2015 1,726
Apr 2015 to Mar 2016 2,685
Apr 2016 to Mar 2017 3,825
Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 4,846
Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 5,568
Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 6,114
Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 4,081

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 4,081

Data source HM Prison and Probation Service annual digest


An announced audit to determine how effectively the prison is assessing and managing risks of violence and self-harm.

The risk management audit is carried out approximately every three years. 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 55.4%

Data source: Prison performance ratings

2019-20

Risk management audit Count
Rating 1 1
Rating 2 29
Rating 3 35
Rating 4 5