The Howard League for Penal Reform has warned that prisons in England and Wales are in crisis after losing 9,830 (41%) of their officers due to cuts in the last four years, coinciding with prison overcrowding and a worrying increase in the number of prisoner suicides.

The figure includes the loss of 1,375 officers (5.7%) when 15 jails were closed. However the Ministry of Justice contests the figures, saying that the actual reduction in officers in the four year period is only 6,480 (27%).

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