Another milestone in the judicial condemnation of those involved in the summer riots has been reached. Now over 1,500 convictions have been made and the statistics are slowly filtering out. 2,710 people have stood before courts since the rioting came to an end on 9 August 2011. Of those 27% were below the age of 18. 53% were below the age of 20. Those standing trial for offences linked with the disturbances are three times more likely to receive immediate jail time than any other criminals, with a higher, 14 month average sentence.
These new figures continue to illuminate the events of the summer, details of which have been hard to grasp due to the speed of the judicial process. 71% of convictions so far have been for burglary or violent disorder. Violent disorder sentences have been subject to a 50% increase in average sentencing from 5 to 10 months.
Within the prisons and Young Offenders Institutes themselves we have seen a 200% rise in staff appointed to suicide watch duties. There have been a number of cases of convicted rioters being assaulted upon entering correctional facilities by inmates. Prison governors had to be reminded of the importance of prisoner safety by the Prison service on 19 August after two young men on remand for riot related offences were hospitalised in a ‘nasty attack’. Meanwhile the prison population figures remain unpublished. The Ministry of Justice set the ‘useable operational capacity’ for UK prisons at 88,093 in September 2011. This month’s population bulletin from the Prison service has seen a change in that figure to 89,335. A difference of 1,242, not quite 1,500 but you get the idea. Overcrowding in prisons is apparently a very discretionary concept.