WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 16 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Rates of self-harm and self-inflicted deaths rising in prisons.

Rates of self-harm and self-inflicted deaths rising in prisons.

Pic: Andy Aitchison, ©PrisonImage

The Ministry of Justice has released the latest statistics on rates of self-inflicted deaths and self-harm in prisons in England and Wales. 64,348 self-harm incidents occurred in the 12 months leading to June 2023, which is up 21% from the previous 12 months.

There has also been a sharp increase of 65% in self-harm rates for women in prisons.  Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform said ‘It is concerning that women’s self-harm is rocketing when, proportionally the numbers of women in prison are rising more quickly than men. In the circumstances, it is imperative that the Ministry of Justice reduces the number of women suffering in prison.’

There has also been an increase in self-inflicted deaths in the 12 months to September 2023. There were 304 deaths in prison custody which was a decrease of 1% from the previous 12 months. However, 92 of these deaths were self-inflicted, a 24% increase from 74 self-inflicted deaths in the previous 12 months.

Rosanna Ellul, policy and parliamentary manager at Inquest stated that ‘these appalling statistics are yet another indictment of our unsafe prison system… as the prison population grows, we know the number of preventable deaths in prison will too.’

The number of people in prison is on the rise with prison population figures reported by the Ministry of Justice demonstrating the number of men in prison increased by 7.5% in the last year, while the number of women in prison had risen by 11.7%.