The new Government is deeply troubled by the 30 per cent increase in the prison muster since 2011. But nearly all those additional prisoners are gang members, who are now where they belong.
The number of gang members in prison has increased by 350 per cent since 2011; from 1051 in April 2011 to 3711 in April 2017 (see graphic). These are violent career criminals getting what they deserve.
What is important to note is that the number of prisoners without any gang affiliations has barely increased at all since 2011 – by 5 per cent, from 6020 to 6353. That is no crisis.
I would note that there is a difference between gang membership and affiliation, but regardless a useful analysis.
So when Labour says that we must cut the prison numbers by 30%, they aren’t talking about letting people out who are in jail for jaywalking.
On average, people must have committed 11 offences before spending their first spell behind bars.
And the average prisoner has over 40 convictions.