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Prisoners and Probation: Disability

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL5969, tabled on 4 February 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many disabled people are (1) in prison, and (2) on probation, in England and Wales broken down by type of disability.

Answered on

17 February 2022

Self-declared information on disability is held on national databases, however, it is of mixed quality and not suitable for publication. Obtaining reliable information would require matching against local records and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Prison and Probation Services in England and Wales must adhere to the Equality Act 2010, including the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled persons. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) works to respond to the individual needs of all prisoners and those on probation. We have developed a national, consistent approach to all prisoners and people on probation with care and support needs.

The National Disability Strategy published by the Government in July 2021 sets out a number of commitments for the Ministry of Justice, including improving the knowledge of front-line staff on neurodiversity. Steps are taken to ensure that prisoners and those in the community are able to progress with their sentence plans and rehabilitate and that reasonable adjustments are provided.

The use of a Diversity Information Form (DIF) is mandated at court for those for whom the probation service is preparing a pre-sentence report. This includes the collation of data on disability status and type of disability, which is also used to inform the pre-sentence report. The form has recently been revised and reissued with guidance to incorporate a wider range of disabilities. However, this data is self-reported, and there can be some reluctance on the part of disabled people to share this information, for understandable reasons.

All prisoners’ needs are assessed when they enter custody and arrangements are made locally to ensure they are met. In the case of disabled people arrangements may include Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs), access to necessary services or equipment to aid their wellbeing, social interactions and rehabilitation.