Prison officer workforce
Last updated 14 May 2019 - see all updates
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1. Main facts and figures
- as at 31 March 2018, just over 94% of prison officers in England and Wales for whom ethnicity was known were White (including White ethnic minorities), and just under 6% came from the Asian, Black, Mixed ethnicity and Other ethnic groups combined
- from 2015 to 2018, among prison officers whose ethnicity was known, the percentage from the Black ethnic group increased slightly, from 2.3% to 2.7%, and the percentage of White prison officers decreased slightly, from 94.6% to 94.2%
- the percentage of prison officers who didn’t state their ethnicity increased from 9.8% in 2015 to 33.5% in 2018, largely because of low declaration rates among new recruits, and the adoption of a new platform for self-declaration
- as at the 2011 Census, 85.6% of working age people (aged 16 to 64 years) in England and Wales were White, 8.1% were Asian, 3.4% were Black, 1.8% had Mixed ethnicity, and 1.1% were from the Other ethnic group
The ethnic categories used in this data
Prison officers were asked to place themselves within the following 5 broad ethnic groups, based on the 2011 Census ethnicity classification:
- Asian/Asian British
- Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
- Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
- Other ethnic backgrounds
2. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||% of prison officers||Number of prison officers|
Summary of Prison officer workforce By ethnicity Summary
3. By ethnicity over time
|Ethnicity||2015 % Prison officers||2015 Number of prison officers||2016 % Prison officers||2016 Number of prison officers||2017 % Prison officers||2017 Number of prison officers||2018 % Prison officers||2018 Number of prison officers|
Summary of Prison officer workforce By ethnicity over time Summary
Data is derived from the staff administrative system used by the National Offender Management Service (now known as Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, or HMPPS).
The numbers represent the data held at the point when extracts were taken (31 March each year).
Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point.
Further technical information
5. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Ministry of Justice
Purpose of data source
This data is used to inform policy development, to monitor the impact of changes over time and to model future changes and their impact on the prison workforce.
The data forms the basis for workforce monitoring and decision making.
6. Download the data
This file contains the following: year, ethnicity, value, denominator, numerator