Prison officer workforce
1. Main facts and figures
- on 31 March 2020, 92.3% of prison officers in England and Wales were White, and 7.7% were from Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups
- at the time of the 2011 Census, 85.6% of working age people were White, and 14.4% were from the combined Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups
- from 2015 to 2020, the percentage of prison officers who were Black went up from 2.3% to 3.4% – the percentage of prison officers who were White went down from 94.6% to 92.3%
- the percentage of prison officers whose ethnicity was unknown went down from 30.1% in 2019 to 18.9% in 2020
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data shows the number of prison officers in public sector prisons in England and Wales, by ethnicity. It is a headcount of all full-time and part-time prison officers employed on 31 March 2020.
Percentages have been rounded to the nearest 1 decimal place, so some totals may not add up to 100%.
Not included in the data
The data does not include prison officers:
- in private prisons
- on salary bands 1 to 2, including cleaners and administrative support workers
- on band 6 and above, including governors and deputy governors, site managers and heads of functions like human resources
The ethnic groups used in the data
Data is shown for the following 5 ethnic groups:
Prison officers report their own ethnicity. Data is based only on officers whose ethnicity is known. Ethnicity was unknown for 18.9% of officers in 2020.
Read the detailed methodology document for the data on this page.
Population data is from the 2011 Census. Read more about how we use Census data and some of the problems involved.
3. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||% of prison officers||Number of prison officers|
Summary of Prison officer workforce By ethnicity Summary
4. 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||2019 % Prison officers||2019 Number of prison officers||2020 % Prison officers||2020 Number of prison officers|
Summary of Prison officer workforce By ethnicity over time Summary
5. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Ministry of Justice
Purpose of data source
This data is used to:
- inform policy development
- monitor the impact of changes over time
- 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: Measure, Time, Time_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, value, Denominator, Numerator