09/09/2011 12:39 BST | Updated 09/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Prison inmates record after riots

The prison population in England and Wales has reached a record high.

The total number of prisoners hit 86,842, only slightly higher than the previous record of 86,821 set a fortnight ago, and about 1,800 short of the usable operational capacity of 88,628, Ministry of Justice figures show.

The Government has said there will be enough jail places for anyone sentenced to custody as a result of the violence and looting which swept England's cities last month.

The prison population has risen significantly as a result of the tough approach taken by magistrates and judges to those involved in the August riots.

The latest Ministry of Justice figures show nearly 1,700 people have now appeared in court over the disorder, in which five people died across the country.

More than half of them have been remanded in custody, compared with an average of one in 10 of those who were charged with serious offences in 2010.

Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt said last month there would be a "one-off" increase in prisoner numbers as people serve their sentences but that the new wave of inmates would not necessarily change long-term estimates of the jail population.