Bishop of St Albans asks Government about action to reduce prison suicides

On 3rd April 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on prison suicides.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the increasing annual number of self-inflicted deaths in prisons since 2012, what steps they are taking to reduce the number of such deaths. [HL6247]

Lord Keen of Elie: We are clear that violence, self-harm and deaths in our prisons are too high. The department has taken immediate action to stabilise the estate by tackling the drugs, drones and phones that undermine security and are also investing £100m annually to boost the frontline by 2,500 officers.

These are long-standing issues that will not be resolved in weeks or months but our wholesale reforms will lay the groundwork to transform our prisons, reduce reoffending and make our communities safer. We will carefully study the details of all deaths in custody to determine whether there are any patterns, or lessons to be learned, to further our understanding of why these tragic events happen.

A range of measures will be put in place to help support prisoners who are at risk of self-harm or suicide, especially in the first 24 hours where prisoners are at their most vulnerable. We are also investing more in mental health awareness training for staff.