UK

New Statistics on Deaths and Self-Harm Expose Perilous State of Prisons

The Ministry of Justice has today (30 July 2020) released the latest statistics on deaths and self-harm in prison. The safety in custody statistics show every five days a person in prison takes their life and for the seventh consecutive year self-harm has reached record levels. The Ministry of Justice report that in the 12 months to March 2020, self-harm incidents reached a new record high of 64,552 incidents, up 11% from the previous 12 months. This is almost triple the number of self-harm incidents than in the same period in 2013 (33,780) and is equivalent to 177 incidents per day. Self-harm in the children’s estate increased by 51% on the previous year (from 779 to 1,178).
In the 12 months to June 2020, there were a total of 294 deaths of people in prison, around six deaths every week. Of these deaths:
Seven were in women’s prisons.
76 were self-inflicted.
79 deaths were classed as ‘natural causes’, though INQUEST casework and monitoring shows many of these deaths are in fact premature and far from ‘natural’.
37 deaths were recorded as ‘other’, 28 of which are awaiting classification.
There were also two homicides.
According to INQUEST’s casework and monitoring, there was also an additional death of a still birth baby in HMP Styal in June 2020. Despite there being 15 fewer deaths in prison during the year to June 2020 when compared to the year June 2019, the rate of deaths per 1,000 prisoners remains at historically high levels consistent with the past five years.
Read more; INQUEST, 30 July 2020, https://www.inquest.org.uk/

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