Increase to almost 60 cases per 100 prisoners blamed on lack of experienced staff and overcrowding

The use of force against inmates has doubled over the past decade, amid continuing concern over high levels of violence and disorder in prisons. A loss of experienced prison staff, overcrowding and a subsequent growth in violence against both prisoners and staff has been blamed for force being used 49,111 times in England and Wales in the 12 months before the Covid pandemic began.

According to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, force was used 59.1 times per 100 inmates in the year from April 2019. The last such figures, published in 2011-12, showed force used about 27 times per 100 prisoners.

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