Commenting on today's publication of Safety in Custody statistics by the Ministry of Justice, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

"Another record low in standards of safety should leave no one in any doubt of the need to relieve the pressure on our failing prison system. We know that the worst outcomes happen in overcrowded prisons. Reducing the population can no longer be an afterthought—it is the only realistic way to make our prisons safe in the foreseeable future."

Key findings from the report:

  • Deaths up by 38% in the last year—with self-inflicted deaths up by 32%.
  • 2016 saw a record level of 354 deaths in prison—119 were self-inflicted.
  • Self-harm incidents rose by 23% in the last year—a record high of 37,784 incidents.
  • Assaults have risen by 31% in the last year—reaching a record high of 25,049 assault incidents.
  • There were 6,430 assaults on staff in the last year—up by 40% on the previous year.


Analysis conducted by the Prison Reform Trust in December 2016 found that the most overcrowded prisons in England and Wales were twice as likely to be failing. You can read the full story at