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‘Disturbing’ figures show prison violence at record levels | UK News



The number of self-harm incidents and assaults in prisons has reached record levels, according to new figures.

There were 52,814 self-harm incidents in the year to September, a 23% increase from the previous year. Of these, over 3,000 of required hospital treatment.

The Ministry of Justice figures showed a big difference in self-harm rates between different genders – there was a rate of 540 incidents per 1,000 in male prisons and a rate of 2,465 incidents per 1,000 in female prisons.

In the same time period, 33,803 assaults were reported, up 20% from the previous year, with 12% of these deemed serious.

Prison: ‘A world of threats and intimidation’

The figures, which cover prisons in England and Wales, also showed there were 325 deaths in prison custody in the year to December, a 10% increase from the previous year.

Four of these were homicides, 162 were from natural causes and 92 were suicides. Another 67 were recorded as “other”, most of them awaiting further information before being classified.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “Violence and self-harm in our prisons is unacceptably high and these figures underline why we are spending an extra £70m to fight the drugs plaguing prisons and boost security, while also training over 4,000 new prison officers in handling the complex offender population.

“Clearly, there is a huge amount yet to be done but I am determined to cut the violence so prisons can focus on rehabilitating the offenders who will be back out at some point.

“While these figures are disturbing, I am optimistic that the measures we have been putting in place will help us to reduce violence and ultimately better protect the public.”

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Prisoners tell Sky News that frustration and anger is fuelling violence

The number of assaults on prison staff also hit a record high, up 29% from the previous year to a total of 10,085.

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon claimed cuts to staff and budgets were “directly to blame for violence spiralling out of control in our prisons”.

He said: “Our prisons have become a danger to officers, inmates and wider society.”

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