Self-harm in prisons hits record high, report says

There was also a rise in violence towards officers

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The number of self-harm incidents occurring in prisons has risen to its highest on record, according to new figures from the Ministry of Justice.

A total of 60,594 instances were reported in the 12 months up to June 2019, a 22 per cent increase from the same period the previous year.

The number of inmates self-harming increased by 5 per cent to 12,740 and the number of self-harm incidents per person rose by 17 per cent, from 4.1 to 4.8.

The report said that the number of incidents per person in female prisons was twice as high as those in male establishments, but male inmates more often required hospital treatment.

Meanwhile, the number of attacks on prison staff rose by 10 per cent, with 10,424 assaults recorded.

The attacks that were classed as “serious” – meaning victims needed medical treatment or obtained in fractures, burns, or extensive bruising – remained at the same level as the previous year of almost 4,000.

The figures coincide with a scathing report by the Commons Justice Committee that warned the prison system was in an “appalling state of crisis” and accused the government of having no clear plan for “desperately needed change”.

Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust accused the government of making “politically motivated announcements”.

He criticised the Number 10’s plans for tougher prison sentencing, saying: “How can any government contemplate sending more people to prison on ever longer sentences when it is failing so completely to meet its duty of care to the individuals involved?”

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