As we write this chapter, the prison population of England and Wales stands at over 70,000 and is increasing at a rate of 400 inmates per week. Since 1993, when prison numbers hit a low of 42,000, this rise has been relentless. The inevitable result is overcrowded cells and worsening regimes, prisoners placed far from their families, and a much greater risk of violence, riots and suicides. Throughout this era of rampant jail expansion, crime rates have fallen steadily; the British Crime Survey suggests an overall decrease since the mid-1990s of 22 per cent. Similar trends of declining crime rates and expanding prison populations have occurred in various other countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The lack of evidence to suggest that the increasing use of imprisonment has contributed to a reduction in crime has led to a widespread questioning of custodial sentencing.