Previous editions of this page should not be used as there was a mistake in the labelling of the ethnicity classification. This has been corrected in this version.
The numbers shown here are based on a headcount – the total number of prison officers, regardless of whether they work part-time or full-time.
Prison officers working in public sector prisons are asked to give details of their ethnicity when they join, but it is not a formal requirement.
The percentages shown here are calculated using the total number of prison officers who reported their ethnicity. In March 2018, 66.5% of prison officers (14,503 out of 21,821) recorded their ethnicity. As 33.5% of prison officers didn’t state their ethnicity, this adds some uncertainty to the percentages shown here.
The percentage of prison officers who didn’t state their ethnicity has increased sharply, from 9.5% in 2015 to 33.5% in 2018. This is largely because of low declaration rates among new recruits, and the adoption of a new platform for self-declaration.
Prison officers are likely to live in, and be recruited from, areas close to prisons. This means that the percentages of prison officers from different ethnic backgrounds may be similar to the percentages of working age people who live in those areas. Many public sector prisons in England and Wales are located in areas with a high percentage of White people in the general population.