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.


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.

Prisoner on prisoner assaults per 1,000 prisoners
Year Prisoner on prisoner assaults per 1,000 prisoners
2020-21 148
2019-20 267
2018-19 296
2017-18 262
2016-17 227
2015-16 195
2014-15 152
2013-14 138
2012-13 130
2011-12 144
2010-11 134
2009-10 142
2008-09 153
2007-08 154
2006-07 144
2005-06 146
2004-05 131
2003-04 123

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 148

Mar-2021

In the 12 months to Mar 2021 there were 148 prisoner on prisoner assaults per 1,000 prisoners.


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.

Assaults on staff per 1,000 prisoners
Year Assaults on staff per 1,000 prisoners
2020-21 95
2019-20 118
2018-19 124
2017-18 106
2016-17 84
2015-16 63
2014-15 46
2013-14 40
2012-13 35
2011-12 36
2010-11 34
2009-10 36
2008-09 39
2007-08 40
2006-07 43
2005-06 45
2004-05 42
2003-04 38

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 95

Mar-2021

In the 12 months to Mar 2021 there were 95 assaults on staff per 1,000 prisoners.


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%

MQPL safety audit detail

2019-20

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

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.

HMIP safety inspection detail

2019-20

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

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.

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 81.5%

Incident reporting system data quality audit detail

2019-20

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

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

Incident reporting system assaults check detail

2019-20

Incident reporting system assaults check
Incident reporting system assaults check Count
Achieved target 7,900.0%
Did not achieve target 500.0%

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

Incident reporting system self-harm check detail

2019-20

Incident reporting system self-harm check
Incident reporting system self-harm check Count
Achieved target 7,100.0%
Did not achieve target 1,100.0%

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.

Self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners
Year Self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners
2020-21 662
2019-20 777
2018-19 700
2017-18 549
2016-17 474
2015-16 404
2014-15 320
2013-14 278
2012-13 266
2011-12 280
2010-11 310
2009-10 297
2008-09 312
2007-08 278

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 662

Mar-2021

In the 12 months to Mar 2021 there were 662 self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners.


Self inflicted deaths

The number of self inflicted deaths in prisons.

Self inflicted deaths
Year Self inflicted deaths
2020-21 80
2019-20 78
2018-19 87
2017-18 81
2016-17 100
2015-16 108
2014-15 82
2013-14 92
2012-13 63
2011-12 53
2010-11 63
2009-10 59
2008-09 64
2007-08 84
2006-07 72
2005-06 74
2004-05 87
2003-04 94
2002-03 106
2001-02 75
2000-01 77

Jul 2020 to Jun 2021 80

Jun-2021

In the 12 months to June 2021 there were 80 self-inflicted deaths.


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.

Barricades or prevention of access
Year Barricades or prevention of access
2020-21 1,217
2019-20 1,882
2018-19 1,737
2017-18 1,406
2016-17 1,320
2015-16 1,229
2014-15 929
2013-14 669
2012-13 475
2011-12 554
2010-11 430
2009-10 446
2008-09 524
2007-08 521

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 1,217

Barricades or prevention of access detail


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.

Hostage incidents
Year Hostage incidents
2020-21 38
2019-20 86
2018-19 98
2017-18 127
2016-17 128
2015-16 129
2014-15 113
2013-14 91
2012-13 54
2011-12 50
2010-11 20
2009-10 19
2008-09 25
2007-08 38

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 38

Hostage incidents detail


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.

Concerted indiscipline
Year Concerted indiscipline
2020-21 159
2019-20 267
2018-19 351
2017-18 339
2016-17 380
2015-16 276
2014-15 206
2013-14 151
2012-13 99
2011-12 117
2010-11 98
2009-10 98
2008-09 127
2007-08 118

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 159

Concerted indiscipline detail


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.

Incidents at height
Year Incidents at height
2020-21 4,081
2019-20 6,114
2018-19 5,568
2017-18 4,846
2016-17 3,825
2015-16 2,685
2014-15 1,726
2013-14 1,281
2012-13 738

Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 4,081

Incidents at height detail


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%

Risk management audit detail

2019-20

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