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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

September 4, 2004: Prison Suicides Reach Record High

With prison overcrowding at its highest recorded level, the BBC has reported that in August 2004, more prisoners killed themselves in prisons in England and Wales than in any other single month since records began. There have now been 70 suicides in prison since the start of 2004. According to evidence given to the House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights for their interim report on deaths in custody, 2004, almost two-thirds of prisoners who commit suicide have a history of drug misuse. About a third of suicides occur within the first week of a prisoner being imprisoned and no less than one in seven within two days of admission.

MIND evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights stated that:

“Incidences of suicide and self-harm often arise either due to inadequate care and support available to people whilst in a detained setting, or when conditions a person has been detained in are not conducive to minimising anxiety and ensuring they feel safe. This may result in suicide or self-harm, or alternatively in increased agitation or aggressive behaviour which may lead to physical restraint or increased medication being used which has in the past led to deaths.”

Prison Reform Trust evidence to the same committee stated that there was a clear link between the high prevalence of mental illness among prisoners and the level of suicides.

“Many prisoners have significant mental health problems. Research… has found that 40% of male and 63% of female sentenced prisoners show symptoms of at least one neurotic disorder, such as depression, anxiety and phobias. Nearly two thirds of male sentenced prisoners and half of female prisoners suffer from a personality disorder. These levels of mental illness are three times higher than among the general population… A high proportion of prisoners have been treated in psychiatric hospitals… one in five male sentenced prisoners and 15% of female prisoners have previously been admitted to a psychiatric hospital.”

From 1 April 2004, all deaths in prisons, probation hostels and immigration detention accommodation have been investigated by Stephen Shaw, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.