Stoke Heath Prison costs taxpayers £27 million a year

Taxpayers paid more than £27 million to keep inmates locked up in Shropshire’s Stoke Heath prison last year.

 Stoke Heath Prison
Stoke Heath Prison

Ministry of Justice data shows the average bill per prisoner at HMP Stoke Heath near Market Drayton was £36,037 in 2019-20 and that this was the equivalent of £99 per day.

The cost was an increase was up two per cent from £35,426 the previous year, and 18 per cent more than the £30,653 cost in 2014-15.

The prison has around 759, inmates meaning it cost about £27.3m.

The Prison Reform Trust said rising prisoner costs across England and Wales are a concession to "crumbling prisons being run on the cheap" for many years.

The figures cover direct costs met by the prison as well as centralised administration and management services.

Excluding management costs,the direct cost per prisoner at Stoke Heath prison last year was £22,867.

Chief executive of the charity Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Crook said decades spent funding an "overcrowded and overburdened prison system" have held the country back.

"It is costly to the taxpayer, but more importantly, it has fuelled more crime," she added.

Reduce

"If we want safer communities, we must take sensible steps to reduce the prison population. Think of what could be achieved if we invested in schools and hospitals instead."

Across England and Wales, the average overall cost per prisoner was £42,700 in 2019-20, an increase of 3.7 per cent on the year before.

Young offender institutions for boys aged 15 to 17 had the highest costs on average at £144,700 while male open prisons spent the least at £34,800 per inmate.

Senior policy and communications officer at the Prison Reform Trust, Alex Hewson said the increase is an acknowledgement that taxpayers have been "short changed" by crumbling prisons being run cheaply.

He said: "The effects of years of prison budgets being pared back to the bone have been plain for all to see.

"Rather than repeating the same mistakes of the past, we need to invest in more effective support and rehabilitation outside of our prisons to guide people away from crime, helping them – and their communities – to prosper," Mr Hewson said.

The Ministry of Justice stated: “We’ve invested in our prisons to make them safer and more effective at delivering the rehabilitation that will cut reoffending and crime.”

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