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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

April 5, 2007: Suicide And Local Prisons

The Howard League for Penal Reform has welcomed a drop in suicide figures in 2006, but warned that local prisons remain the worst hit for suicides among their inmates. Howard League Director Frances Crook said:

“This Easter weekend, we can be grateful that 2006 saw the fewest prison suicides in a decade. Even so, I am still extremely concerned that last year, just like every year since 2000, at least two-thirds of suicides were in local prisons: the most overcrowded and hard pressed."

“48 prisoners killed themselves in local prisons last year. Of these, 22 men on remand or awaiting sentence killed themselves – as well as a further six men who had their licenses revoked. The uncertainty and fear people experience when they first go to a prison make them extremely vulnerable. Despite the many initiatives – like multi-disciplinary teams monitoring vulnerable prisoners and providing more training for staff - local prisons continue to bear the brunt of suicides."

“Currently women’s prisons have first night centres to reduce the distress experienced when people first go to a prison. I believe that these centres should be rolled out to all men’s local prisons if the government is serious about preventing suicides in custody. We would like to see a dedicated wing or unit in every local prison, where all new prisoners would spend their first 48 hours in custody. With specialist staff, support and assistance from fellow prisoners, and contact with families and children, such first night centres could make a real contribution to saving lives.”

While the pattern for suicides in local prisons remains a cause for concern, the overall picture has some better news to tell. Last year, 64 men and 3 women killed themselves in prisons in England and Wales. This was a 14 per cent reduction on 2005. Frances Crook commented:

“These figures are a reflection of the hard work of prison staff up and down the country and the great efforts that have been made to improve the treatment of vulnerable people in custody. Staff resuscitated more than 100 prisoners last year after serious self-harm incidents. The reduction in the number of suicides has occurred despite the immense pressure on the prison system due to record numbers of inmates. That pressure will not relent and the Prison Service must do all it can to ensure one year’s drop in the figures becomes a developing trend.”