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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

July 5, 2005: New Prison Suicide Figures

The Howard League for Penal Reform has released new figures on prison suicides over the last decade. No less than 804 men, women and children have committed suicide whilst in the care of HM Prison Service in England and Wales in the last ten years. Of the 804 suicides between 1995 and 2004 inclusive, 65 were female and 739 were male. 17 of these were children. So far this year there have been 39 suicides, including 16 last month, 13 of which occurred in the space of 14 days.

These figures have been released at a time when the prison population has reached a new record high of 76,266 (on July 1, 2005). They show that in the years 1995 to 2004:

  • 55% of those who committed suicide were on remand, despite remandees only comprising 19% of the total prison population. The majority of people on remand are not convicted. Those on remand are held in notoriously overcrowded and overstretched local prisons
  • Local prisons suffered from the highest rate of suicides. The fifteen prisons most affected by suicides experienced on average 21 suicides, with the highest experiencing 27.
  • On average women were 30 times more likely to commit suicide in prison than in the community, with the number of women killing themselves in prison rocketing from 2 in 1995 to 13 in 2004.
  • 17 children took their own lives.

Howard League Director Frances Crook commented:

“The number of prison suicides in the last 10 years is a shaming indictment of our penal system. Judges and magistrates cannot justify sending ever-increasing numbers of people into our already bulging jails when effective community sentences are readily available. With the present level of overcrowding in our prisons, people are literally condemned to an early death, despite the best efforts of over-stretched prison staff.”