Suicides occurred in 52 prisons last year

Fifty two prisons experienced the suicide of at least one inmate
last year, according to statistics from the Howard League for Penal
Reform published today, writes Clare

Thirteen of those prisons experienced three or more deaths in
2004 and there were six deaths in Manchester prison. A total of 95
people committed suicide in prisons last year.

“Far too many people find prison intolerable and are dying
as a direct consequence of our love affair with punishment and
incarceration,” said Frances Crook, director of the charity.
“Our society would benefit if we used prison less and got
people to make amends in the community, and we would save hundreds
of lives.”

The charity’s analysis found:-

• A quarter of the suicides occurred within a week of
arrival at a prison and a half within the first month

• 57 per cent of those who commit suicide in prison are on
remand – yet this group makes up just 19 per cent of the
prison population

• Of the people who died in prisons, only seven per cent were
identified as at risk of suicide at the time of their death

• 13 women committed suicide in prisons last year

The report also highlights how those people released from prison
are 40 times more likely to die than their peers as a result of
drug overdoses and suicide.

The charity also highlights that in addition to the 95 people
who committed suicide in prisons, a 14-year-old boy took his own
life in a Secure Training Centre last year.

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