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Prisoners: Death

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many deaths of prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection were recorded in each year since 2005; how many of those deaths were classified as self-classified as self-inflicted in each such year; and how many incidents of self-harm by prisoners serving such a sentence were recorded in each such year. (320987)

Indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPP) were introduced in 2005. Prisoners serving such sentences account for 6 per cent. of the average prison population. Since 2005 there have been a total of 13 self-inflicted deaths involving prisoners with IPP status. These numbers are detailed in the following tables:

Type of death

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

All deaths

174

153

186

164

168

Homicide

3

2

3

0

Natural causes

88

83

92

99

105

Self-inflicted

78

67

92

60

60

Other non-natural

5

3

2

3

All IPP deaths

0

2

7

9

7

Homicide

1

Natural causes

3

4

4

Self-inflicted

2

4

4

3

IPP deaths as a percentage of all deaths

Percentage

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

All IPP deaths

0

1

4

5

4

Homicide

33

Natural causes

3

4

4

Self-inflicted

3

4

7

5

The number of self-harm incidents involving IPP sentenced prisoners is as follows:

2005

2006

2007

2008

Total population

75,979

78,127

80,216

83,194

Total self harm incidents

23,776

23,395

22,875

24,686

Total IPP population

24

1,079

2,859

4,461

IPP Self-harm incidents

59

160

267

326

IPP self-harm as a percentage of all self-harm

Percentage

2005

2006

2007

2008

IPP self-harm incidents as percentage of all self-harm

0.2

0.7

1.2

1.3

IPP population as percentage of total population

0.03

1.4

3.6

5.4

Note: Figures for 2009 remain subject to verification and are not yet available.

Any death in prison custody is a tragic event. The Government, Ministry of Justice and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is committed to learning from such events and reducing the number of self-inflicted deaths in prison custody.

NOMS 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 procedures.