As at 10 October 2014 the prison population was 85,705 of which 3,908 were women.
The overall cost per prisoner for public and private prisons in England and Wales is £40,000.
Many prisoners were locked up for a short time with little attempt at rehabilitation.
It is no surprise that many returned to a life of crime on release, with the most recent figures showing that nearly 50% of offenders released from prison reoffend within a year.
Overall, one in five offenders spent some time in custody the year after they were released from prison or started a community sentence.
Almost three quarters of those who were released from custody or began a community order in the first quarter of 2000 were reconvicted of another offence within nine years.
Taken from Ministry of Justice Paper: Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders