Prisoners: Self-Harm

House of Lords written question – answered on 28th July 2014.

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Photo of Lord Knight of Weymouth Lord Knight of Weymouth Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the change in numbers of prisoners in the United Kingdom committing acts of self-harm in custody for each of the last 10 years; and what the percentage change has been year on year for the same period.

Photo of Lord Faulks Lord Faulks The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The government is committed to open and transparent reporting of self-harm in custody and publish statistics on self-harm in prison custody in England and Wales quarterly in the National Statistics “Safety in Custody” bulletin. This statistical series can be found at

The number of individuals committing at least one self-harm incident in prison custody in each year and year-on-year change is presented in table 1.

Figures are provided for England and Wales only. Figures are not published by the Ministry of Justice for other areas of the United Kingdom as the judicial systems are a devolved matter for the respective administrations.

Around 80 prisoners in every 1,000 in prison custody self-harm.

Table 1: Year-on-year percentage change of individuals self-harming in prison custody, England and Wales

Year Number Year-on-year change (%) Number of individuals self-harming per 1,000 prisoners
2005 5,837 - 77
2006 6,090 4% 78
2007 6,296 3% 78
2008 6,586 5% 80
2009 7,149 9% 86
2010 6,767 -5% 80
2011 6,907 2% 80
2012 6,821 -1% 79
2013 6,823 0% 81

All prisons have procedures to identify, manage and support people who are at risk of harm to themselves. Prisoners at risk are subject to individual case management and receive support from prison staff, supplemented, where appropriate, by input from mental health services and a range of other sources such as peer supporters and the Samaritans.

Additional resources and support are being provided for safer custody work in prisons and in particular to improve the consistency of the application of the case management system for prisoners identified as at risk of self harm or suicide.

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