HM Prison Brockhill

Prison death toll hits 8-year high

originally by: Morning Star
published: September 2012

Prisoner suicides are back on the rise, a government watchdog warned today after the highest rate of deaths in custody in nearly a decade. Nearly 230 people died in prisons, immigration detention centres and probation facilities across Britain last year, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman reported – the highest death toll since it began monitoring in 2004.

Of these, 71 deaths were self-inflicted – a rise in levels not seen since 2008 – including the deaths of three children in custody, the first in more than three years.

Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen said the majority of deaths in custody were from natural causes, reflecting both longer sentences and “significant health deficits” among the prison population.

But the rise in suicides was “particularly worrying.”

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