Thursday, January 22, 2015

Prison suicides in England and Wales at 'seven-year high'

Prison suicides in England and Wales at 'seven-year high'

HMP Wormwood Scrubs

The number of suicides in prisons in England and Wales is at its highest for seven years, new figures show.
Eighty-two inmates killed themselves in 2014, up seven from the previous year, according to statistics compiled by the Howard League for Penal Reform.
The charity said the deaths were a "direct result of the cuts to the number of [prison] staff". 
Prisons minister Andrew Selous said the Howard League was "deliberately misrepresenting the situation".
In total, 235 people died in prisons in England and Wales during 2014, according to the figures which have been collated by the Howard League via notifications from the MoJ about individual prison deaths. 
'Staff cuts'
They show that despite a successive drop in the average prison population for the last three years there has been, over that same time period, a continued rise in suicides.
Last year more than 120 prisoners died of natural causes, and a further 24 deaths are yet to be classified by authorities. 

Deaths in custody

in England and Wales 2014

average prison population in 2014
deaths in prison, including:
  • 127 died of natural causes 
  • 82 prisoners took their own lives 
  • 24 deaths yet to be classified 
  • 1 murder and one alleged murder 
Paul Faith/PA
Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League, said: "It is evident that people are dying as a direct result of the cuts to the number of staff, particularly more experienced staff, in every prison.
"The government has chosen to allow the prison population to increase whilst it cuts staff, and that has led to an increase in people dying by suicide."
'Terrible tragedy'
The charity also found that four prisoners took their own lives in HMP Wandsworth in London, last year, and a further four killed themselves in HMP Elmley in Kent.


Generic image of Wormwood Scrubs