Prisoners: Females

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Uddin Baroness Uddin Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many incidents of self-harm occurred in the women's prison estate in the two most recent years for which information is available.

Photo of Baroness Uddin Baroness Uddin Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times ambulances have been required to take women prisoners to hospital in the two most recent years for which information is available; and what support is provided to women prisoners after any return from hospital.

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice)

The Government publishes statistics on safety in custody quarterly, and updated detailed tables annually. The most recent tables were published on 26 April 2018 and cover the period to the end of December 2017. In 2017 there were 8,317 incidents of self-harm in the women’s prison estate. In 2016 there were 7,670 such incidents.

The total number of times ambulances have been required to take women prisoners to hospital could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, the published figures reveal that there were 183 self-harm incidents that required hospital attendance in the women’s prison estate in 2017, and 138 such incidents in 2016.

The support available to prisoners when they return from hospital depends on the cause of their injury or illness. Continuing medical treatment or observation is provided where necessary. The Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) case management process is used to provide support for prisoners who have self-harmed, and where the prisoner was subject to the ACCT process prior to the incident, there is a review by the multi-disciplinary team to identify any changes that need to be made to the support that is being provided.

The Government takes very seriously its responsibility to keep prisoners safe, and the recent increase in the number of self-harm incidents shows that we can and must do more. We have established a prison safety programme through which we are taking forward a comprehensive set of actions to improve safety in custody, including: rolling out revised and improved training for staff in assessing and managing the risk of suicide and self-harm amongst prisoners (which has already reached more than 15,500 staff); improving support for prisoners in their early days in custody; revising the ACCT case management process for those identified as being at risk; and renewing our partnership with the Samaritans by confirming a further three years' grant funding for their valuable Listeners Scheme.

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