Inmates at Littlehey prison in Perry were handed an extra 484 days of additional punishment last year for breaking prison rules – a decrease of five per cent on 2015.

HMP LittleheyHMP Littlehey

At Peterborough Prison the number of days added on totalled 2,531 – up 32 per cent on the previous year- while Whitemoor, in Fenland, saw an increase of 800 per cent to 947 days.

But the record for the most extra days imposed was ‘won’ for the second year in succession by Highpoint, seven miles outside of Haverhill, where the equivalent of an extra 22 years was added to prisoners sentences. In 2016, 8,066 days were added on for disciplinary offences - -a 49 per cent increase from 2015 when 5,790 days were added.

Across East Anglia prisoners were handed a total of 24,083 days – almost 66 years – of additional imprisonment for breaking prison rules last year.

Research by the Howard League for Penal Reform reveals today (Monday, September 4) that prisons are routinely and increasingly resorting to such punishments to regain control.

The findings are published in Out of Control: Punishment in Prison, the latest in a series of Howard League reports examining how prisons respond to misbehaviour. It reveals how disciplinary hearings, known as adjudications, are used and claim that even minor infractions such as disobedience and disrespect are being punished with additional days of imprisonment.

The report calls on England and Wales to follow the example set by Scotland, where the use of additional days of imprisonment was scrapped about 10 years ago.

Officials and governors in Scotland could find no evidence that abolishing the use of additional days had a negative impact on behaviour, and Scottish prisons have become safer since the change was made.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Prisons are out of control. More people than ever before are losing their lives to suicide, and violence and self-injury are at record levels. The adjudications system has become a monster that is making these problems worse.

“It is surely time to follow the example set in Scotland, where scrapping additional days’ imprisonment has made prisons fairer and safer. There are more constructive ways to deal with misbehaviour than simply locking up people for longer, which puts even more pressure on the system.

“Bold but sensible action to reduce the prison population would save lives and prevent more people being swept into deeper currents of crime, violence and despair.”