Young Offenders

Home Department written question – answered on 27th March 2007.

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Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening Vice-Chair (Youth), Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many young offenders in custody committed (a) acts of self-harm and (b) suicide in each year since 2001.

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

The exact information requested is not available. The table provides estimates in respect of those aged 18 to 20 inclusive derived from a national recording system of each incident of self-harm, the majority of which are minor. The improved system was only introduced in 2003 and figures before this time should not be compared directly with those since that date.

The Home Office definition of prisoner self-inflicted deaths is broader than the legal definition of suicide and includes all deaths where it appears that a prisoner has acted specifically to take their own life. Annual figures may change slightly as inquest verdicts and other information becomes available, although the figures presented here are a fair reflection of the number of self-inflicted deaths among young offenders.

Number of offenders aged 18 to 20 who self-harmed Number self-inflicted deaths of offenders aged 18 to 20
2001(1) 707 10
2002(1) 694 12
2003 950 11
2004 996 6
2005 1,079 10
2006 1,138 2
(1) Not comparable to later years due to change in reporting system.

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Pauline Campbell
Posted on 9 Apr 2007 11:25 pm (Report this annotation)

There is no explanation from the Home Office about why the number of young adult offenders who self-harmed in custody rose by 64% between 2002 and 2006. The figure for 2002 was 694; by 2006 the figure had risen to 1,138. These young people are owed a legal duty of care.

The figures are alarming, and have been reported in "Community Care" magazine, 5-11 April 2007, page 11.