Young offenders are 18 times more likely to commit suicide

Young male offenders aged 15-17 are 18 times more likely to kill
themselves than boys in the general population, according to a
report published this week, writes Maria

An analysis of 1,312 male suicides in prisons in England and
Wales between 1978 and 2003 by the University of Oxford found that
the overall suicide rate for male prisoners was five times higher
than that of the general male population of similar ages.

Commenting on the report published in The Lancet, Juliet Lyon,
director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “These stark
findings should prompt questions not only about the continuing
failure of suicide prevention in Britain prisons, but most of all
they should make us ask why the most vulnerable, mentally ill
people are still being locked up in bleak, overcrowded

The issue was highlighted this week when a judge summoned the
health minister Rosie Winterton to explain why no NHS bed could be
found for a mentally disabled young offender.

At a custody hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Judge Nadine
Radford refused to return Henry Nichol-Sey, of north London, to
Feltham Young Offender Institution because of concerns about his

The court heard that Nichol-Sey had a mental age of six and had
already tried to kill himself six times while on remand at Feltham

Judge Radford said: “This case is the biggest that is
going on in court right now. It is not murder, drugs or rape, but
the life of a young man caught in the legal system is being passed
around several authorities.”

Winterton attended the hearing, but by then a secure unit place
had been found for Nichol-Sey.


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