Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: This information is not held centrally.

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: In-cell television was introduced on a gradual and self-financing basis in October 1998.

Since its introduction, no specific research into its effects has been undertaken by the Prison Service, and none is planned at this time. However, experience of in-cell television in recent years suggests considerable benefits. As an earned privilege, it can be a powerful incentive to good behaviour and regime participation, and can help with order and control, reducing tension on the landings. It helps prisoners keep in touch with

18 Jul 2000 : Column WA90

the outside world to which all but a few must eventually return. It can also be used as a means of providing information and educational programmes.

Prison Population and Crime Projections

The Earl of Longford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the projected increases in (a) the prison population; and (b) recorded crime over the next five years.[HL3293]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Research Development and Statistics Directorate of the Home Office provided revised projections of the prison population in England and Wales in May, and a summary of the projection is included in the April 2000 Prison Population Brief, which is available on the Internet at http://www/

Projections are provided according to various alternative scenarios. The middle variant projection assumes some growth in the use of custody in the courts, but no change in sentence lengths. The higher variant projection assumes that sentence lengths continue to increase. These scenarios both assume that the amount of courts' business remains constant over the period. A lower variant projection assumes sentence lengths and custody rates do not increase further and continue at the levels prevailing in March 2000, leading to a prison population of 66,700 in 2005. Projections take into account known legislative and policy changes. Table 1 gives the results for the middle and higher variants.

The available projections on recorded crime cover property crime trends and were published in autumn 1999 as Home Office Research Study 198, Modelling and predicting property crime trends in England and Wales.

Property crime (burglary and theft) comprises around 60 per cent of all recorded crime. The models provide projections of burglary and theft based on expected movements in the number of young males, the stock of goods and consumer spending. These are not forecasts, which would incorporate a range of other information and judgments about how other social, economic and policy changes might effect the level of crime. The projections are given in Table 2.

Table 1: Long term projections of prisoners to 2005, England and Wales (May 2000).

Middle VariantYear-on year increasesHigher variantYear-on year increase


18 Jul 2000 : Column WA91

Table 2: Projections of recorded burglary and theft.

YearProjected number of recorded burglaries (millions)Year-on-year increase in burglaryProjected number of recorded thefts (millions)Year-on-year increase in theft

*Actual recorded crimes

Our judgment is that the level of theft will not rise as far as the central projection (perhaps rising to 2.8 million by 2001). We expect burglary to remain close to the central projection in Table 2.

Projections have not been made past 2001 because of the lack of reliable data on the variables in the models, and because uncertainty over the projections increases over projection periods.

18 Jul 2000 : Column WA92

   Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page