Prison officer workforce
1. Main facts and figures
- on 31 March 2019, 93.1% of prison officers in England and Wales were White, and 6.9% were from Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups
- for comparison, 85.6% of working age people were White, and 14.4% were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined (2011 Census)
- from 2015 to 2019, the percentage of prison officers who were Black went up from 2.3% to 3.1%
- the percentage of prison officers who were White went down from 94.6% to 93.1%
- these figures are based on prison officers whose ethnicity was known
- the percentage of prison officers who didn’t state their ethnicity went up from 9.8% to 30.1%, in part due to changes in data collection from new staff
The ethnic categories used in this data
Prison officers were asked to choose from a list of 5 ethnic groups: Asian, Black, Mixed, White and Other. These are based on the ethnic groups used in the 2011 Census of England and Wales.
2. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||% of prison officers||Number of prison officers|
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||2019 % Prison officers||2019 Number of prison officers|
Data comes from the staff administrative system used by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service.
The numbers were correct at the time 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: measure, ethnicity, year, value, numerator, denominator