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Young Offender Institutions: Injuries

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many incidents of (a) self-harm, (b) injury caused by restraint and (c) assault there were in each young offender institution in each of the last five years. (282913)

The annual numbers of recorded self-harm incidents for each of current, single-function young offender institution for each of the last five years is given in table 1.

The National Offender Management Service has a broad, integrated and evidence-based prisoner suicide prevention and self-harm management 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 2005-07

Most self-harm is not directly life threatening, but nevertheless can be extremely distressing for all those concerned. A prisoner-focused care planning system for those at risk, (ACCT), has helped prisons manage self-harm. There are no easy answers to preventing self harming behaviour but we remain committed to finding ways to manage it.

Table 1: Recorded self-harm in single-function young offender institutions, 2004-08

Incidents

Prison

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Ashfield

239

172

224

142

106

Aylesbury

83

116

346

265

265

Brinsford

23

73

102

86

87

Castington

89

92

106

68

64

Cookham Wood

163

197

144

216

55

Deerbolt

59

104

131

99

138

Feltham

161

144

126

221

210

Glen Parva

217

232

149

249

231

Hindley

46

156

71

41

81

Huntercombe

73

69

67

86

95

Lancaster Farms

15

92

153

21

5

Northallerton

60

16

35

30

37

Portland

119

110

161

174

80

Reading

39

60

45

38

24

Rochester

58

18

50

47

99

Stoke Heath

250

192

217

227

325

Thorn Cross

3

1

3

4

3

Warren Hill

21

14

18

13

80

Werrington

13

30

24

12

52

Wetherby

60

.67

34

12

34

The information requested on the number of injuries caused by use of restraints is not held centrally in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. A Use of Force Report Form is completed by each member of staff involved in its use, to explain the circumstances in which force was used. Establishments are required to examine this information on a regular basis to determine if there any particular problems in relation to use of force or any resulting injuries. To obtain information on the number of injuries sustained during use of restraint would require contacting each young offender establishment and asking them to analyse their forms for every single use of force for the past five years.

The number of assault incidents for each current, single-function young offender institution for each of the last five years is given in table 2.

The information is subject to important qualifications. The NOMS Incident Reporting System processes high volumes of data which are constantly being updated. The numbers provide a good indication of overall numbers but should not be interpreted as absolute. Rises or falls in reported numbers from one year to the next are not a good indicator of an underlying trend for a particular prison. Additionally there have been improvements in reporting over the years, and this is reflected in the tables.

Assault data are complex and the numbers need to be interpreted with caution. Information recorded as assault incidents may involve one or many prisoners as some assault incidents may involve more than one assailant or more than one victim. Additionally in a proportion of incidents only the victim is known.

Reducing violence in prisons is a priority for Ministers, NOMS and the Prison Officers Association and they are collectively committed to working towards a zero tolerance approach to prison violence. Since 2004, a national strategy has directed every public sector prison to have in place a local violence reduction strategy and since mid 2007 this has been applied to the public and contracted out estate. A whole prison approach is encouraged, engaging all staff, all disciplines and prisoners in challenging unacceptable behaviour, problem-solving and personal safety.

Table 2: Recorded assault incidents in single-function young offender institutions, 2004-08

Assault incidents

Prison

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Ashfield

395

680

761

753

748

Aylesbury

28

96

100

93

120

Brinsford

360

364

197

204

352

Castington

443

412

406

431

462

Cookham Wood

13

5

5

7

20

Deerbolt

234

199

174

194

222

Feltham

751

698

596

544

648

Glen Parva

273

300

387

422

510

Hindley

78

149

407

548

550

Huntercombe

96

110

217

306

426

Lancaster Farms

213

484

428

397

347

Northallerton

110

118

91

108

106

Portland

166

194

170

234

193

Reading

41

93

72

54

37

Rochester

120

102

113

80

173

Stoke Heath

280

498

578

606

561

Thorn Cross

8

21

148

85

45

Warren Hill

183

291

314

371

383

Werrington

123

160

168

154

228

Wetherby

492

568

465

393

432