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Detained Persons (Deaths)

Volume 32: debated on Wednesday 24 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many deaths there were in penal custody between 1979 and 1982, in prison or police custody, respectively;(2) how many deaths of black prisoners there were in penal custody, including borstal trainees, young persons and remands between 1979 and 1982;(3) how many of the total deaths in custody between 1979 and 1982 were found to be not from natural causes; how many of the total were suicides; and how many of the non-natural causes and the suicides were black.

Information on the number and the causes of deaths of those in the custody of prison department establishments in England and Wales is published annually in "Prison Statistics England and Wales"—table 10·4 of the volume for 1981 (Cmnd. 8654). Information on the number and causes of deaths in police custody is published annually in a Home Office Statistical Bulletin—table 1, Issue No. 6/82. Information on the ethnic origin of those who died is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average age of those who died in custody between 1979 and 1982; and what was the average age of black prisoners who died in custody over this period.

The readily available information is given in the following table:

Average age of those who died in the custody of prison department establishments in England and Wales: by cause of death
YearsSuicidesOther deaths
19793441
19803043
19813744

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many, and what proportion of, the total numbers of deaths in penal custody between 1979 and 1982 occurred within a week of an adjudication, either before a governor or a board of visitors; and how many, and what proportion, occurred while the prisoner was in the segregation unit, in the prison hospital, or after transfer to an outside hospital.

No information of the type requested could be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.