Prisons

Home Department written question – answered on 31st October 2006.

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Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Chair, Procedure Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures are in place in (a) prisons and (b) other custodial institutions to prevent self harm and suicide being committed by inmates; when he last reviewed such provisions; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

holding answer 30 October 2006

Prison Service Order 2700 (current version issued in November 2002) sets out the procedures for suicide prevention and self-harm management in the Prison Service in England and Wales. This is available on the internet at http://pso.hmprisonservice.gov.uk/PSO_2700_suicide_and_self_harm_prevention.doc. PSO 2700 is currently being revised to incorporate learning from the Safer Locals Programme (2001-05), learning from death in custody investigation reports, and recent safer custody initiatives, including the introduction of ACCT (Assessment, Care in Custody & Teamwork—the new care-planning system for at-risk prisoners). The revised PSO is planned to be issued in 2007.

Detention Services within immigration have traditionally adopted similar suicide/self-harm prevention strategies to the Prison Service, and are currently implementing a version of the ACCT system.

Each facility within the secure psychiatric services estate has its own self-harm and suicide prevention policies, which are informed by guidance issued by the National Institute for Mental Health in 2003, "Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for Mental Health Services."

Youth Justice Board (YJB) contracts with Secure Children's Homes (SCHs) and Secure Training Centres (STCs) stipulate that risks of self-harm and suicide must be treated seriously and responded to. The YJB monitors Suicide and Self-Harm (SASH) plans and policies to ensure they are reviewed and updated. Custodial staff are expected to demonstrate an understanding of SASH policies and practices, that SASH review meetings are programmed and that risks of self-harm are considered during the initial assessment stage following admission and in every subsequent review and planning meeting. The Commission of Social Care Inspectorate (CSCI) carries out announced and unannounced inspections each year to monitor how SCHs and STCs are adhering to statutory regulations and national minimum standards issued by the Department of Health.

Guidance relating to the risk of self-harm and suicide posed by individuals detained in police custody is contained in the "Guidance on the Safer Detention and Handling of Persons," which was published on 8 February 2006.

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