Inmates at Wigan prison get 18 extra years in jail for rule-breaking

Hindley Prison
Hindley Prison

Hindley Prison inmates were handed an extra 18 years behind bars for breaking rules last year, figures reveal.

Prison reform campaigners say imposing extra jail time as a punishment simply worsens overcrowding, and have called for it to be scrapped as a punitive measure.

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Ministry of Justice (MoJ) data shows that prisoners were handed 6,573 extra days behind bars in 2018-19. The additional time was distributed across 344 judgements, meaning 19 days were handed out each time on average.

The type of offence for which prisoners got the most extra time was unauthorised transactions, which include those for alcohol and drugs – prison officials doled out 3,737 days in total for the transgression.

Unruly convicts were also slapped with extra days for disobedience or disrespect, and violence.

Prisoners at Hindley received five per cent fewer additional days than the previous year – 6,883 were imposed in 2017-18. This bucks the trend across England and Wales, where prisoners were given around 388,000 extra days in 2018-19 – nine per cent more than the previous year.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the growing use of repeated punishment in prisons is a symptom of a failing system.

“Imposing additional days of imprisonment does not work,” she added. “Rather than solving problems, it creates new ones, piling more pressure on the prison population and worsening overcrowding, which in turn leads to more drug abuse and violence.

"Scrapping the imposition of additional days would make prisons safer, fairer and less likely to churn out people who go on to re-offend in the community.”

Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said many punishments will have followed offences born from boredom and frustration.

He added: “Overcrowded prisons with under-occupied prisoners feed this self-defeating use of a penalty that ultimately just makes the problem worse.”

An MoJ spokesperson said: “Having robust punishment available is essential to running a safe prison, so it is absolutely right that anyone who attacks a fellow inmate or smuggles drugs or phones should face longer behind bars.”