British prisons seeing record levels of suicides, violence: Ministry of Justice

London [UK], Feb. 3 : A report released by United Kingdom's Ministry of Justice has revealed that suicides, assaults and self-inflicted harm in British prisons have all reached new record levels with 354 deaths being reported behind bars in England and Wales last year, including 119 which were apparently self-inflicted.

Self-harm incidents increased by 23 percent to 37,784, while there were 25,049 assaults in the 12 months upto September last year, The Nation said citing the report.

The statistics released by the Ministry, undersocres the scale of the task facing the government as it attempts to address the jail safety crisis.

The number of apparent suicides - equivalent to two every week - represented a jump of nearly a third on the previous year.

Self-harm also continued to increase, reaching a record high of 37,784 incidents in the year to September - nearly 7,000 more than were recorded in the previous 12 months.

The figures also dispalyed that there are now nearly 70 assaults in jails every day. The number of serious attacks has also increased by 28 percent every year. There were 6,430 assaults on staff in the 12 months to September 2016, 40 percent more than the previous year.

Of these, 761 were serious. "The rise in assaults since 2012 has coincided with major changes to the regime, operating arrangements and culture in public sector prisons," the officials from the Justice Department said.

Justice Secretary Liz Truss, said in a statement, "the violence, self-harm and deaths in our prisons are too high.

I have taken immediate action to stabilise the estate by tackling the drugs, drones and phones that undermine security." "We are also investing 100 million annually to boost the front line by 2,500 officers.

These are long-standing issues that will not be resolved in weeks or months but our wholescale reforms will lay the groundwork to transform our prisons, reduce reoffending and make our communities safer" added Truss.

Source: ANI