The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published 'The Northern Ireland Prison Population 2022/23' report. It is a National Statistics Publication.
The report presents key data relating to the average daily prison population, receptions and discharges for Northern Ireland during 2022/23.
The key findings were as follows:
Average Daily Prison Population
- The overall average daily prison population increased by 12.8% during 2022/23 to 1,685. The male population increased from 1,428 to 1,607 while the female population increased from 66 to 78.
- The remand population increased by 11.2% to 607 during 2022/23 from 546 the previous year and is at the highest level it has been over the last eight years.
- During 2022/23, the average daily immediate custody population increased by 13.5% to 1,068. This is the highest the immediate custody population has been since 2016/17.
- Prisoners aged between 30 and 39 years made up the largest proportion (36.2%) of the average daily immediate custody prison population and the remand population (34.9%).
- In terms of custodial sentence length, 28.0% of the average daily population during 2022/23 had custodial sentences of less than or equal to one year, an increase from 27.3% during 2021/22.
- Violence Against the Person offences continued to account for the largest proportion (34.6%) of all principal offence categories for the daily immediate custody prison population and for the remand population (35.1%).
- During 2022/23, those identifying as Catholic represented the largest proportion of the average daily prison population at 51.2% (863), while Protestant denominations and Other Christians accounted for 33.8% (569).
Receptions and Discharges
- At 4,096, the number of receptions during 2022/23 was higher than 3,477 the previous year, an increase of 17.8%. This is the highest the number of receptions has been over the past eight year reporting period.
- Remand receptions increased by 16.5% over the last year, up from 2,722 in 2021/22 to 3,171 during 2022/23.
- Receptions into immediate custody increased by 21.8% during 2022/23, to 816 compared to 670 the previous year. Compared with 2020/21, which coincided with the first full financial year of the COVID-19 pandemic, receptions into immediate custody increased by 79.3%, from 455 in 2020/21 to 816 in 2022/23.
- The number of receptions for fine default and non-criminal increased by 28.2% from 85 during 2021/22 to 109 during 2022/23. This also follows on from an increase between 2020/21 and 2021/22 of 41.7%.
- 30 to 39 year olds accounted for the largest number of immediate custody receptions (288; 35.3%) (Figure 11 and Table 17c). They also accounted for the largest number of remand receptions (1,136; 35.8%).
- The majority of immediate custody receptions had a custodial sentence length of less than one year (77.0%) a small increase from 76.6% during 2021/22.
- Public Order and Violence Against the Person offences accounted for the largest proportion of immediate custody receptions, at 22.7% (185) and 19.6% (160) respectively, while, Violence Against the Person offences accounted for 33.7% of remand receptions (1,070).
- The number of discharges increased by 16.4%, from 3,283 during 2021/22 to 3,823 during 2022/23.