Ministry of Justice data shows a rise in the number of inmates at Full Sutton prison during pandemic

The number of inmates at Full Sutton prison has increased compared to levels at the start of the pandemic, in contrast with the national trend, figures reveal.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 11:40 am
Ministry of Justice data shows that there were 579 inmates at Full Sutton prison as of March 31. Photo: JPI Media

Ministry of Justice (MoJ) data shows that there were 579 inmates at Full Sutton prison as of March 31 – 15 more than at the same point in 2020.

This is in contrast with the situation across England and Wales, where the number of prisoners fell by 6% to 78,058 at the end of March.

With court delays owing to the pandemic being blamed for changes in the normal flow of inmates nationally, the Howard League for Penal Reform said court backlogs had put additional strain on defendants and victims alike.

A MoJ report highlighted the number of people held on remand – those in prison awaiting trial or sentencing – as of March 31, reached a ten-year high last month.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The backlog in the courts has put additional strain on everyone affected by crime – not only defendants spending longer in prison awaiting trial, but also victims, who are having to wait even longer for their cases to be heard.

“Now, more than ever before, it is vital that police and prosecutors use their discretion and make sensible decisions to ensure that people are not swept into the system unnecessarily.”

A spokesman for the MoJ said: “Courts have been prioritising the most urgent cases throughout the pandemic to protect the public and ensure offenders continue to face justice.

“Thanks to measures such as Nightingale courts and the rapid expansion of videos hearings, outstanding magistrates’ cases have fallen by 50,000 since last summer.”