The Liberal Democrats have called for urgent action to tackle overcrowding and recruit more prison officers following new figures showing a dramatic increase in deaths, self-harm and assaults in prison.
The statistics, published today by the Ministry of Justice, show that in 2018 there were 325 deaths in prison, up 10% since 2017.
They figures also reveal self-harm incidents and assaults have reached new record highs. In the 12 months to September 2018, there were:
- 52,814 incidents of self-harm, up 23% year-on-year;
- 33,803 assaults, up 20% year-on-year & the highest on record;
- This includes 10,085 assaults on staff, up 29% year-on-year.
Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:
“These shocking statistics are yet more evidence that our prisons are in crisis. They are stuffed full of people on short sentences, leaving overstretched staff simply unable to cope and unable to provide the rehabilitative and mental health services prisoners need.
“Prisoners are fighting, self-harming, attacking staff and even dying as a result. The Liberal Democrats demand better.
"Ministers should urgently recruit more prison officers and reduce overcrowding by ending pointless short-term sentences. Our goal must be to transform prisons into places of rehabilitation and recovery, to cut re-offending and make our communities safer.”
The Ministry of Justice’s latest Safety in Custody Statistics are available here.