Concern at rise in ‘prison self-harm’

Hindley prison

Hindley prison

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THERE has been an increase in prisoners harming themselves while serving time in Wigan.

The latest figures show that 159 inmates at HM Prison Hindley performed self harming acts in 2014, which had gone up from 119 in 2013.

The year 2012 saw a sharp increase from 88 in 2011 to 2012.

There has only been two deaths within the last 10 years – one in 2005 and another in 2012.

Back in 2012, 17-year-old Jake Hardy hanged himself whilst serving time at the youth offenders institution in Hindley.

The teenager, who was serving a four month jail term for assaulting his girlfriend, had a history of self-harm.

In 2014, following an inspection, the chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick criticised the facility, stating there were more than 200 reports of bullying and there were fights nearly every day.

But it appears staff are cracking down on violent behaviour, as the number of assaults has been driven down.

There were 272 prisoner on prisoner attacks in 2014, which had fallen from 303 in 2013.

A total of 50 assaults were by inmates on staff in 2014, which again shows a decrease from 70 in 2013.

Overall, there have been 315 assaults in 2014, which has decreased from 356 in 2013.

A spokesman for the prison service said it works closely with police to ensure that assaults on staff lead to prosecution and action by HMP Hindley has led to a number of custodial sentences being handed down to prisoners.

It also has a joint protocol in place between The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and National Offender Management Service (NOMS) for the investigation and prosecution of crime in prisons to crack down on violence and make sure prisoners are prosecuted.

Nationally, the prison service is introducing body scanners and trialling the use of body worn cameras by prison staff. A Prison Service spokesman said: “Staff at HMP Hindley work hard to reduce the risk of self harm, including the regular monitoring of those who are thought to be at risk.

“Every effort is made to improve the care we provide to vulnerable prisoners and learn from each individual incident.

“We have a zero tolerance approach on violence in our prisons and those who are violent face spending extra time behind bars.”