Safety & 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.


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.

YearPrisoner on prisoner assaults per 1,000 prisoners
2017-18262.0
2016-17227.0
2015-16195.0
2014-15152.0
2013-14138.0
2012-13130.0
2011-12144.0
2010-11134.0
2009-10142.0
2008-09153.0
2007-08154.0
2006-07144.0
2005-06146.0
2004-05131.0
2003-04123.0

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.

YearAssaults on staff per 1,000 prisoners
2017-18106.0
2016-1784.0
2015-1663.0
2014-1546.0
2013-1440.0
2012-1335.0
2011-1236.0
2010-1134.0
2009-1036.0
2008-0939.0
2007-0840.0
2006-0743.0
2005-0645.0
2004-0542.0
2003-0438.0

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.

MQPL safety audit detail

2017-18

MQPL safety auditCount
Rating 45
Rating 367
Rating 226
Rating 119

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

HMIP safety inspection detail

2017-18

HMIP safety inspectionCount
Rating 429
Rating 336
Rating 238
Rating 115

Internal audit of recording of reportable incidents on Incident Reporting System (IRS).

Incident Reporting System data quality audit detail

2017-18

Incident Reporting System data quality auditCount
Rating 416
Rating 336
Rating 234
Rating 15

Assaults subset of the internal audit of recording of reportable incidents on Incident Reporting System (IRS).

Incident Reporting System assaults check detail

2017-18

Incident Reporting System assaults checkCount
Achieved target60
Did not achieve target22

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

This measure shows the rate of self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners.

YearRate of self-harm incidents
2017-18549
2016-17474
2015-16404
2014-15320
2013-14278
2012-13266
2011-12280
2010-11310
2009-10297
2008-09312
2007-08278

Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 549

Rate of self-harm incidents detail


The number of self inflicted deaths in prisons.

YearSelf inflicted deaths
2017-1869
2016-17116
2015-16102
2014-1579
2013-1490
2012-1352
2011-1267
2010-1154
2009-1059
2008-0964
2007-0884
2006-0772
2005-0674
2004-0587
2003-0494
2002-03106
2001-0275
2000-0177

Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 69

Self inflicted deaths detail


The number of incidents where prisoners used barricades or prevented access in prisons.

YearBarricades or prevention of access
2017-181,406
2016-171,320
2015-161,229
2014-15929
2013-14669
2012-13475
2011-12554
2010-11430
2009-10446
2008-09524
2007-08521

Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 1,406

Barricades or prevention of access detail


The number of hostage incidents in prisons.

YearHostage incidents
2017-18127
2016-17128
2015-16129
2014-15113
2013-1491
2012-1354
2011-1250
2010-1120
2009-1019
2008-0925
2007-0838

Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 127

Hostage incidents detail


The number of incidents of concerted indiscipline in prisons.

YearConcerted indiscipline
2017-18339
2016-17380
2015-16276
2014-15206
2013-14151
2012-1399
2011-12117
2010-1198
2009-1098
2008-09127
2007-08118

Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 339

Concerted indiscipline detail


The number of incidents at height in prisons.

YearIncidents at height
2017-184,847
2016-173,825
2015-162,685
2014-151,726
2013-141,281
2012-13738

Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 4,847

Incidents at height detail

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