Prisons in the press – 6 July

Link between suicides and staff shortages exposed and Gove’s legacy hotly debated. 

Minister for Justice, Michael Gove. What will his legacy be?

Missed the news last week? Prisons in the press brings you the best articles from the past week to keep you up-to-date on prison news.

 

Hot off the press

Understaffing contributes to prison suicides, a report reveals. The Independent has the story.

Author of the report, Lord Harris said:

“It is clear that the prison service needs to make radical changes to protect the most vulnerable people in custody more effectively”

In context

There were 243 deaths in custody in 2014, the highest number on record. Of these 141 were due to natural causes, and 84 were self-inflicted.

The rate of suicides in custody is ­significantly­ higher than amongst the general population. In 2014
the rate of self-inflicted deaths amongst the prison population was 100 per 100,000 people, amongst the general population it is 11.9 per 100,000 people.

There­ are ­now ­fewer ­staff ­looking ­after ­more­ prisoners. The number of staff employed in the public prison estate has fallen by 29 percent in the last four years, that’s 12,980 fewer staff.

 .

In comment this week

Amidst reports of staffing cuts and risings suicides this week, Michael Gove hits the headlines yet again. How will he respond to the state of our prisons?

The Observer takes a look the state of Grayling’s legacy, it seems Gove has quite a job on his hands. 

Eric Allison of the Guardian asks what Gove could learn from progressive reforms in Scotland. Will he follow the introduction of smaller regional and community-based custodial facilities?

And some good news this week!

The prison population at La Moye jail, Jersey, is back to manageable levels and assaults have decreased. The average population last year was 140 compared to 200 in 2011. The Jersey Evening Post reports.



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