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Prisoners: Self-harm and Suicide

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 58603, tabled on 11 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of instances in prisons of (a) self-harm and (b) suicide by (i) region, (ii) ethnicity and (iii) gender for each of the last five years.

Answered on

18 June 2020

Please see the attached tables showing the number of instances of (a) self-harm and (b) self-inflicted deaths in prisons by (i) region, (ii) ethnicity and (iii) gender for each of the last five years. Our condolences are with the family and friends of the prisoners who have died.

The figures on self-harm have been drawn from the HMPPS Incident Reporting System. Care is taken when processing and analysing the returns but the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. Although the figures are shown to the last individual the figures may not be accurate to that level. The figures on self-inflicted deaths are derived from the HMPPS Deaths in Prison Custody database. As classification of deaths may change following inquest or as new information emerges, numbers may change from time to time.

Far too many prisoners are self-harming or taking their own lives and it is one of the reasons we introduced the key worker scheme in 2018, supported by the recruitment of extra prison officers, so that every offender can get dedicated support and have someone to talk to.

We have also given over 25,000 staff better training to spot and prevent self-harm and are investing an extra £2.75 billion to modernise prisons, combat drug use and improve the environment in which offenders live.

As well as this, we have refreshed our partnership with the Samaritans, awarding a grant of £500k each year for the next three years. This supports the excellent Listeners scheme, through which selected prisoners are trained to provide emotional support to their fellow prisoners.