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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

June 16, 2005: Sharp Rise in Prison Suicides

In a period of only 14 days in June this year, no less than 13 prisoners have died in the overcrowded prisons of England, according to a new statement from the Prison Reform Trust. The statement points out that this toll of apparently self-inflicted deaths comes in spite of substantial work by the Home Office Safer Custody Unit and the Samaritans.

It coincides with a recent sharp rise in prison numbers as well as reduced regimes, thought to be associated with budget cutbacks, and more time in cell for many prisoners. Over half the people who died were held on remand. Remand prisoners experience the worst conditions in most large local prisons.

In 2004, there were 95 suicides in prisons in England and Wales, equalling the highest recorded number for a calendar year. There appears to be a link between overcrowding and the number of suicides. Research by HM Prison Service suggests that 10 of the 20 establishments with the highest incidence of self-inflicted deaths are also in the top 20 for turnover of population. In all, 20 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women entering custody say they have previously attempted suicide. According to the Social Exclusion Unit, more than 50 prisoners commit suicide shortly after release each year.

Prison Reform Trust Director Juliet Lyon commented:

“This catalogue of deaths must act as a terrible warning to the courts to avoid custody for those who are vulnerable or mentally ill and a stark wake up call to Government to act now to improve court diversion, bail provision and treatment options and, at long last, to end prison overcrowding. People are sent to prison to lose their liberty not their lives.”