Socialist Worker

Self-harm rife in Britain's prisons

Issue No. 2213

There were 24,114 incidents of self-harm in prisons in England and Wales last year.

This is just one of the shocking statistics contained in the Ministry of Justice’s annual report on safety in prisons.

It shows that 6,977 out of a total 83,559 prisoners self‑harmed in 2009.

That’s more than 8 percent of the prison population and an increase on the 2008 figures.

While around 7 percent of male prisoners self harm, more than a third of female prisoners do so.

Young prisoners are particularly at risk.

Some 23 percent of all self‑harm incidents were among prisoners aged between 15 and 20.

The figures for individual acts of self-harm also suggest that prisoners who self-harm do so often.

This raises questions about the conditions they are being held in and the level of support they receive.

The report is a damning indictment of British “justice”.

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Tue 3 Aug 2010, 18:18 BST
Issue No. 2213
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