English prison population hits record after riots
The prison population in England and Wales swelled to a record high this week, the Ministry of Justice said Friday, as more people convicted over the recent riots are sent to jail.
The total number of prisoners hit 86,654, 723 more than the previous record of 85,931 set last week.
The new figure is less than 1,500 places short of the usable operational capacity of 88,093.
The British government insists there will be enough prison places for anyone given a jail sentence for their part in the wave of looting, arson and violence that swept through English cities earlier this month.
The sentences being handed down -- including four years each for two men who tried to incite a riot on Facebook even though no violence resulted from their call -- have been criticised by some campaigners and lawyers as overly harsh.
© 2011 AFP