Sixteen young offenders committed suicide in prison last year,
the latest figures from the Howard League for Penal Reform show,
writes Clare Jerrom.
A total of 94 people killed themselves in prisons in England and
Wales in 2002. This total includes a 16-year-old, a 17-year-old and
nine women, according to the statistics.
The penal charity blames the deaths on prison overcrowding. “The
improvements to prison regimes being attempted by the Prison
Service in the last couple of years have been undermined by the
sheer number of people now being sent to prison by the courts,”
said director Frances Crook.
“People have paid for the degrading and inhumane conditions in
our overcrowded prisons, with their lives,” she added, urging the
home secretary to “act now to end this tragic loss of life”.
The statistics show there is an increase of 22 per cent on 2001
levels of prison suicides, and the 2002 number represent the
highest ever annual figure.
Fifty two prisons were affected by the suicide of a prisoner,
and 10 prisons had three or more self-inflicted deaths.
These prisons are:- Bedford, Bullingdon, Dovegate, Durham,
Exeter, Holme House, Hull, Leeds, Lewes and Woodhill.
Five of the prisons affected by a suicide are privately
The statistics are available