Commenting on the latest safety in custody statistics published today by the Ministry of Justice, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

 “The faint hope that our prison system might have turned a corner has been dashed by these numbers. Prisons are still getting more dangerous as places where people have to live and work.  More people than last year chose to take their own life rather than endure it. When an individual prison hits rock bottom, the government reduces the number of prisoners it holds – but it continues to ignore the obvious truth that it is the prison system as a whole that is grossly overcrowded. Ministers talk about having recruited more staff, but the problem will only be solved by having fewer prisoners.”

The figures show:

  • An increase in total assaults over the last year which rose by 11%, 4% of which was over the last quarter. The total number of assaults over the past year is the highest ever recorded
  • The number of serious assaults were at their highest ever recorded rate with 1,000 incidents
  • The number of assaults on staff is also up by 4% over the quarter, and 15% over the year
  • The number of incidents of self-harm are also up, with the second highest ever recorded quarterly figure
  • The number of deaths has decreased to 73 from 77 over the last quarter, and the annual number has also slightly decreased to 309 from 311

Photo credit: Andy Aitchison