Prisons: Suicides - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:18 pm on 31 January 2024.

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Photo of Lord Harris of Haringey Lord Harris of Haringey Labour 3:18, 31 January 2024

My Lords, it has been nearly a decade since the Minister for Prisons asked me to undertake a review of the self-inflicted deaths of young people in the prison estate. Since then, things have got worse. The reality is that prisons are more overcrowded. The very positive suggestions that the Minister made in answer to the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, about how people will be trained to provide support, will work only if there are sufficient numbers of staff who stay sufficiently long in the job for it to work.

The Minister has also just said that efforts are made for rehabilitation, training and education. Again, if prisons are so overcrowded and there are such staff shortages that people cannot be escorted to the extracurricular activities he described, how on earth is this going to work? Is not the reality that this Government have lost control of prisons and of the fundamental responsibility to rehabilitate people into society?