Most Common Crimes Committed Inside Prisons in the UK

Prison Info

The ins and outs of prison life can be complex and challenging. Crime doesn’t stop at the prison gates, and offences can happen within the penal system, not just outside of it. Here, we’ll explore the most common crimes committed within UK prisons.


A significant number of crimes that happen inside UK prisons involve assaults. These include both inmate-on-inmate incidents and attacks on staff members. The tough, tense environment can sometimes encourage violent behaviour.

Drug Smuggling and Use

Illegal substances, such as drugs, are often smuggled into prisons. These substances can lead to felony charges for inmates who are found in possession of them. Additionally, people outside prison walls who are caught smuggling drugs to inmates can face criminal charges.

Contraband Possession

Possessing contraband, objects, and substances that are illegal within prison walls, is another common crime. This could include drugs, weapons, mobile phones, and money.

Sexual Offences

Unfortunately, sexual offences often go unreported within the prison system due to fear of retaliation or shame. However, reports indicate that these offences do happen, which include actions from harassment to sexual assault.

Escape Attempts

While not as common these days due to improved security measures, escape attempts are still seen as a significant internal prison crime. They can involve a range of other offences, such as destruction of property or violence.


There have been instances in UK history where prisoners have banded together to stage a riot or mass disturbance within the prison. Such incidents pose significant risks to prisoner and staff safety and can also lead to an array of other criminal charges.

Damage to Property

Damaging prison property is a common crime within UK prisons. Whether it’s a display of frustration, an act of rebellion, or a means to an end, such as destroying a surveillance camera to facilitate other crimes, it can have serious consequences.

Understanding the types and frequency of crimes committed within UK prisons is vital to implementing better processes and safeguards. It should be remembered that prisons are meant to be spaces for rehabilitation, where inmates can prepare for a crime-free life post-release. By addressing these issues, we work towards a safer and more effective prison system in the UK.

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