Populations within Lancashire prisons and young offender institution

The four Lancashire prisons, and one young offender institution, had a combined population of 3,776 as at March 2017, all male. Although the combined operational capacity of these establishments totalled 3,776, the actual in use certified normal accommodation figure was 3,428 for the month. The reduction in accommodation may arise for reasons such as building works, damaged cells, health care, training or cells used for segregation. The Lancashire prison/young offender population as a percentage of the in use certified normal accommodation figure was therefore 110%. The figure for all prisons in England and Wales (excluding immigration removal centres) was 113%. Within Lancashire, Preston prison had the greatest prison/ young offender population as a percentage of the in use certified normal accommodation figure at 159%. Kirkham had the lowest percentage at 91%. The five Lancashire establishments employ approximately 1,500 people.

Please click on the link at the bottom of the page to download further analysis.

Youth justice and offending statistics

The Ministry of Justice publishes a range of annual statistics which concentrate on the flow of young people (aged 10-17) through the Youth Justice System in England and Wales. Violence against the person is the most common offence for a young offender (24%) in Lancashire-14.

Please click on the link at the bottom of the page to download further analysis.


Probation arrangements are split between those for high risk offenders, who are supervised by the National Probation Service and low to medium risk offenders who are supervised by the Cumbria and Lancashire Community Rehabilitation CompanySodexo Justice Services, in partnership with the social justice charity Nacro, were awarded the Cumbria and Lancashire CRC contract in February 2015. 

The reoffending page on Safer Lancashire website provides some context information about the work done by the national probation service and CRC. These include the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangement (MAPPA) for managing the most serious sexual and violent criminals living in the community. Their work is documented in the MAPPA annual reports.

Reoffending rates

The Ministry of Justice publishes reoffending statistics down to the district authority level. In the Lancashire-12 area between April 2014 and March 2015, 25.3% of adult and juvenile offenders who either were released from custody, received a non-custodial conviction at court, received a caution, reprimand or warning in the Lancashire-12 area went on to commit further offences, with an average of 3.2 offences per reoffender. These figures equalled those for England and Wales. However the rates were higher in Blackburn with Darwen where 27.4% reoffended, with an average of 3.2 offences per reoffender and in Blackpool where 28.5% reoffended with an average 3.3 offences per reoffender.

Comparing the proportion of offenders who reoffended in 2010 to 2015, Lancashire-12 saw a reduction from 29.4% to 25.3%, Blackburn with Darwen from 29.3% to 27.4% and Blackpool from 30.8% to 28.5%.

Local criminal justice boards

The work of the criminal justice system agencies is coordinated by 42 local criminal justice boards across England and Wales that include one that covers the 14-authority Lancashire area. These boards coordinate activity and share responsibility for delivering criminal justice in their localities. Figures for funding levels over recent years for each board are available on the Ministry of Justice website. The results for the Lancashire-14 area reveal some noticeable variations over a four-year period. Between the financial years of 2007/08 to 2010/11, the recorded expenditure numbers were £21.8m, £21.8m, £15.8m and £19.4m.

Victims and witnesses funding awards

The Ministry of Justice website includes details of organisations awarded funding through the victims and witnesses funding awards. The lists highlight a selection of organisations that cover all or parts of Lancashire that have received funding through the programme.

The wider impact of prisons

In addition to their core custodial, training and rehabilitation functions, all prisons have a wider impact on the local community. They offer an important source of local employment, purchase goods and services, cater for visiting friends and family, and may offer their own services to the local area. For instance, Kirkham prison covers a substantial 180 acres and is located in the western part of the county that contains a large amount of good quality agricultural land. A significant proportion of the site is used for agriculture and horticulture and the prison has a farm shop that is open to the public. The Kirkham Enterprises web page provides information on the prison's commercial services and their wider role in the local community.

In the present economic climate, it is more critical than ever that ex-offenders are able to improve their skills and employability as they face particular difficulties. At a time of high levels of unemployment, it is a real challenge for ex-offenders to successfully integrate back into society and schemes to improve their skill levels, confidence and general employability are of vital importance. 

The ONE3ONE website highlights some of the commercial activities undertaken by prisoners. The website mentions that they have a litho print workshop at Wymott, textile workshops at Garth, Preston and Wymott, plus laundry facilities at Wymott. 

Prisons are important source of local employment, and the national offender management service workforce statistics (table 10) has details of operational and non-operational staff numbers. In March 2016, there were 1,500 staff at the five sites in Lancashire listed in table 10. 

Involvement in the community

The Cumbria and Lancashire CRC website details its roles and responsibilities as a part of the criminal justice service. The community payback (formerly known as Community Service) section of the website mentions that nationally over eight million hours of work are completed every year by offenders on a community sentence. This equates to approximately £45 million of free labour provided to local communities as offenders pay back for the crimes they have committed.

The Margaret Carey Foundation is a charitable trust which rescues scrapped bicycles and wheelchairs that are no longer in use, and sets up workshops where prisoners clean, adjust and repair them to a high standard. The refurbished bikes and wheelchairs are then given to communities in need, in England and in developing countries.  The foundation has a wheelchair workshop at HMP Garth and in January 2012 started a bike workshop working with young offenders at Lancaster Farms.

Developments at custodial institutions

Central government publicises details of construction and infrastructure projects, and has a website that identifies developments that includes the Lancashire area.  The construction pipeline map allows users to focus in on projects in the county.  The list of projects includes developments at the Lancashire custodial institutions and other projects for the Ministry of Justice. 

Further analysis

Prison and youth offender institution population in Lancashire, March 2017 (PDF 855 KB)

Youth justice in the Lancashire-14 area, year to March 2017 (PDF 575 KB)



Page updated January 2018