Prison cost us £3billion last year

Prison cost us £3billion last year


How much does prison cost?

Three billion pounds is the short answer.

£2,997,687,957 is the official number for 2016/17 published in an addendum to the HMPPS annual report and accounts last month (26 October 2017).

That’s the overall figure (which includes “net expenditure met at regional or national level and recorded in the annual accounts of the National Offender Management Service”), the direct resource expenditure (which only includes net expenditure at a prison level) is a billion pounds less: £1,943,546,987.

These two different calculations generate two different costs:

The overall cost per prison place last year was £38,042 a big jump on the previous year’s £36,720. The cost per prisoner shows a similar jump (4.2%) from £33,931 in 2016/17 to £35,371 last year.

The direct cost per prison place last year was £24,664 compared to the previous year’s £24,249. The cost per prisoner was £22,933 in 2016/17 compared to £22,407 last year — this is a smaller increase of 2.3%, showing that it is head office expenditure behind most of the rise in the costs of imprisonment. This is unsurprising given the range of problems the prison service has been trying to respond to in terms of recruitment, riots etc.

Public vs private

The accounts also show comparative figures for public and private sector prisons (which the MoJ calls “contracted prisons”).

The table below shows the comparison in terms of direct resource expenditure. The MoJ classifies two types of private prison: Private Finance Initiative (PFI) for prisons which are designed, constructed, managed and financed by the private sector and Operate and Maintain for prisons which are leased to a private sector operator who contracts directly to run the prison and maintain the buildings.

[CNA stands for Certified Normal Accommodation, the number of prisoners an establishment should hold.]

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