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Statistical Press Notice - The Northern Ireland Prison Population in 2009

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Department of Justice today released Research and Statistical Bulletin 2/2010 entitled ‘The Northern Ireland Prison Population in 2009’.

Research and Statistical Bulletin 2/2010, ‘The Northern Ireland Prison Population in 2009’, which is a National Statistics publication, provides statistics on the size and composition of the prison population in Northern Ireland between 2000 and 2009. The Bulletin describes the average population held and all receptions of prisoners into institutions during these years.

The Northern Ireland Prison Population in 2009: Key Findings

  • The overall annual average prison population in Northern Ireland decreased by almost 2% from an average of 1,490 in 2008 to an average of 1,465 in 2009. The 2009 average remand population of 505 was almost unchanged from the 2007 level (507), whilst the average immediate custody population in 2009 (934) was 2% lower than in 2008 (955).
  • The total number of receptions into prison decreased by almost 5% from 6,185 in 2008 to 5,892 in 2009.
  • The overall prison population was predominantly male (97% in 2009). Males also made up 96% of all receptions into prison during 2009.
  • In 2009, 49% of the average immediate custody prison population were between the ages of 17 and 29, while 55% of all immediate custody prison receptions were between the ages of 17 and 29. In 2009, 67% of the immediate custody prisoner population were serving sentences for violent offences (violence against the person, sexual offences or robbery).
  • Prisoners with sentences of greater than one year but less than or equal to five years formed 31% of the immediate custody population in 2009; those sentenced to more than five years but less than life made up 31%; those with sentences of one year and under formed 19%. Life sentence prisoners made up 19% of the average immediate custody population in 2009.
  • Northern Ireland had a rate of 88 prisoners per 100,000 population in 2008 compared with 153 in England & Wales and 152 in Scotland. The Republic of Ireland had a rate of 76 prisoners per 100,000 population. The USA had the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, 756 prisoners per 100,000 population, followed by the Russian Federation on 629.

The Bulletin is available for downloading from the DOJ website

Further information can be obtained from DOJ Statistics and Research Branch, Massey House, Stormont Estate, Belfast BT4 3SX; (Telephone 028 9052 7157).

Notes to editors:

  1. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access.
  2. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.