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Prisoners: Suicide

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what steps he is taking to reduce the incidence of suicide in prisons; (258753)

(2) how many prisoners died in HM Prison Winchester in each of the last five years; and how many of those deaths were suicides;

(3) how many prisoners died in prisons in England and Wales in each of the last five years; and how many of those deaths were suicides.

The National Offender Management Service has a broad, integrated and evidence-based prisoner suicide prevention strategy that seeks to reduce the distress of all those in prison. This encompasses a wide spectrum of prison and Department of Health work around such issues as mental health, substance misuse and resettlement. Any prisoner identified as at risk of suicide or self-harm is cared for using the Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) procedures. ACCT is the prisoner-centred flexible care-planning system introduced across the prisons estate in partnership with the Department of Health during 2005 to 2007 to replace the old F2052SH system.

Any death in custody is a tragic event. The Government are committed to learning from such events and reducing the number of self-inflicted deaths in state custody. We are implementing many of the recommendations of Robert Fulton's Review of the Forum for Preventing Deaths in Custody. From April 2009, a new three tier Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody will replace the existing forum and the Ministerial Roundtable on Suicide.

The numbers of deaths at HMP Winchester in the last five calendar years, broken down by type, are detailed in the following table.

Type of death

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

20091

Natural causes

3

1

1

3

1

Other non-natural

Self-inflicted

1

3

1

1 Up to and including 24 February.

The numbers of deaths in English and Welsh prisons in the last five calendar years, broken down by type, are detailed in the following table.

Type of death

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

20091

Homicide

2

3

2

3

Natural causes

102

88

83

92

97

19

Other non-natural

9

5

3

2

1

Self-inflicted

95

78

67

92

61

14

Unclassified

1

1 Up to and including 24 February.