Record Suicide Figures Prove That, Under This Government, The Prison System Is Broken

The commitment to increase the number of prison officers by 2,500 is much needed, but 400 of those jobs have already been announced, and it is 2,500 “extra” after a reduction of more than 6,000 on the front line. There is also little in the White Paper on the retention of new and existing officers. Frontline prison officers leaving their jobs outstripped new recruits over the last year, and almost 14% of prison officers leave the prison service after less than twelve months. The government fails to explain how it will deal with the problem of retention. Most alarmingly, it appears that the number of deaths will not form any part of the assessment of how safe a prison is. 324 people have died in prison this year so far, including 107 suicides. It is astonishing that the government has concluded that the deaths of prisoners is not a crucial indicator that a prison is not safe.

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