Prisons population hits new high

The prison population in England and Wales has hit another all-time high, figures show.

The number of inmates now stands at 88,179 – a rise of 13 on last week and just 1,203 short of the usable operational capacity, according to a Ministry of Justice spokesman.

The announcement is the fifth time in a row that weekly figures have revealed a record number of convicts in the country’s jails.

The rise in the number of people behind bars has been fuelled by the summer’s riots, but the Government has insisted there will be enough prison places for anyone jailed over the looting and violence.

The usable operational capacity has been increased since Mark Duggan, 29, was shot dead by police, prompting protests in Tottenham, north London, which then led to the disturbances in English cities.

No places are activated under Operation Safeguard, which would see police cells used to hold prisoners, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said.

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