Prisoners: Self-harm

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool, Wavertree

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 30 October to Question 183925, what steps his Department is taking to improve support for prisoners in the early days in custody.

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Government takes very seriously its responsibility to keep prisoners safe, and we are committed to reducing the number of self-inflicted deaths and self-harm incidents across the estate. We know that prisoners are at increased risk during the early days in custody and in the period following a transfer between prisons. This is why, as part of our prison safety programme, we are continuing our efforts to support prisoners by:

• improving staff knowledge and understanding of the factors known to increase risk of self-harm, to help them to identify and respond appropriately to prisoners at risk. Our revised introduction to suicide and self-harm prevention training has already reached over 17,000 staff;

• improving the flow, quality and use of risk information about people coming into our prisons, to support effective decision-making about risk;

• renewing our partnership with Samaritans by confirming a further three years’ funding for their valuable Listeners Scheme, and working with them to share learning from the ‘Coping with Life in Prisons’ project, a successful pilot initiative in which Samaritans-trained ex-prisoners delivered emotional resilience training to groups of newly-arrived prisoners;

• producing an early days toolkit to help staff enhance their support for prisoners during their first few days and weeks in custody; and

• improving the multi-disciplinary ACCT case management process for those identified as at risk of self-harm or suicide.

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