Key crime and prison data

All Data on this Page are for England & Wales only

The number of men in prison has been rising fairly steadily for 70 years. The number of men and women in prison from 1900 to 2013 is shown below (from

Prison Population to 2013

By 11th December 2015 the male prison population had increased further,

  • 81,926 men
  • 3,919 women
  • 21 men for every woman (95.4% men)

It will be seen that 5% of the prison population receive all the focus of concern, i.e. women prisoners (see for example The institutionalised nature of the bias).

The ever increasing male prison population contrasts with the reducing crime rate over the last 15 – 20 years. This is true for all crime as well as the more serious crime categories, as the following graphs show. Data are from the Crime Surveys for England & Wales except where noted. Homicide data is for actual crimes.

All Crime (2015 CSEW)

All Crime 2015

Violent Crime (2013/14 CSEW)

Violent Crime to 2014

Violent Crime Breakdown into Sub-Categories (2013/14 CSEW)

Violent Crime Breakdown to 2014

Intimate Violence (2012/13 CSEW)

Intimate Violent Crime to 2013

Homicide (to year end 2013): Year 2002/03 is abnormal, including 42 male and 130 female victims of Dr Harold Shipman

Homicides to 2013

Given that crime has been falling substantially for 15 to 20 years, why is the male prison population continuing to rise? This question is addressed in further pages, starting with Analysis of gender bias in sentencing data.

Related links (open in this tab)