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Prisoners: Suicide

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what proportion of the prison population (a) attempted and (b) committed suicide in (i) English and (ii) Welsh prisons between 2000 and 2007; and if he will make a statement; (192876)

(2) how many young males (a) attempted and (b) committed suicide in each Welsh prison in each year between 2000 and 2007; and if he will make a statement.

There is no definition of what constitutes an attempted suicide, as it is not possible to measure suicidal intent.

The available figures express the proportion as a rate of self-inflicted deaths per 100,000 prisoners for the period 2000-07. There are no female or high-security prisons in Wales, and many Welsh male prisoners are held in prisons in England.

Proportion as rate

Average 2000-07

SIDs1 rate/100,0002: England


SIDs1 rate/100,0002: Wales


Overall SIDs1 rate/100,000


1 The Prison Service/NOMS definition of self-inflicted deaths is broader than the legal definition of suicide and includes all deaths where it appears that a prisoner has acted specifically to take their own life. This inclusive approach is used in part because inquest verdicts are often not available for some years after a death (some 20 per cent. of these deaths will not receive a suicide or open verdict at inquest). Annual numbers may change slightly from time to time as inquest verdicts and other information become available.

2 Based on an average of each years month end population figures.

There were four self-inflicted deaths among young males (under 21) in Welsh prisons between 2000 and 2007: two in 2001, one in 2002 and one in 2006. All occurred at Parc, which is the only young offender institution in Wales.