Those responsible for the justice system know only too well that one dreadful event, or a high profile court case, can have a devastating impact on prison numbers. The latest edition of the Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile reveals how the August riots, as well as causing harm and distress in communities, propelled an extra 846 people into our already overcrowded jails. This hit the prison service hard when it was already trying to cope with severe budget cuts and overcrowding largely driven by inflation in sentencing.

Ahead of the House of Lords committee stage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, the Briefing indicates that prisons will struggle to cut crime and further reduce reoffending unless the massive growth in the prison population is checked to enable governors and staff to work on the rehabilitation of serious and violent offenders. It suggests that if anything good were to come out of the riots, backed by our recent ICM poll, it would be more emphasis on making amends, community service and restorative justice.

You can download the December 2011 Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile by clicking this link

You can read Mary O' Hara's article in the Guardian featuring PRT's factfile and Talking Justice: Talking Sense film by clicking this link