Women should be moved from Durham prison

The chief inspector of prisons has called for inmates at the
women’s unit of Durham Prison to be moved “as a matter
of urgency” following an inspection that found
“isolated and alienating conditions”,
writes Maria Ahmed.

In a report published today, chief inspector Ann Owers found
that four out of six women inmates had carried out nearly one third
of the self-harm incidents in the whole prison from March to May
this year, and also accounted for seven out of 15 suicide attempts
where prisoners had nearly died.

Since the inspection, Durham inmate Louise Giles died in an
apparent suicide attempt on August 21.

Last year Owers recommended the closure of the unit after
finding it was “unsuitable” for holding women.

The latest report published today found that conditions for the
remaining six women had deteriorated.

Director General of the Prison Service Phil Wheatley said the
women’s wing would close by the end of September.

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