The prison population in England and Wales has hit an all-time high, new figures from the Home Office show.

Yesterday, the number of people held in 139 prisons reached 75,550 - six more than the previous high in April last year - and Home Office estimates suggest this figure could reach 76,5000 to 84,000 by 2009.
Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, deemed the figures "very disappointing" and said the weight of public opinion may be pushing some judges into continuing to use custodial punishments.

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