Officer explains low suicide rate at HMP Hindley

HMP Hindley
HMP Hindley

Prison officers at HMP Hindley say that the establishment is going from “strength to strength” after figures reveal it has one of the lowest suicide rates in the nation.

Figures recently released by the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information Request, showed that the Bickershaw jail has experienced two suicides in the past five years, compared to the UK average of five.

Both of these occurred in the space of 13 months.

According to the MOJ figures; Woodhill Prison, a category A institute in Milton Keynes, has seen the highest number of suicides over the past five years with 19 inmates taking their own lives.

The data, which included 91 prisons, has listed the names and ages of prisoners in jails across the nation who have taken their own life since 2013.

Gary Rouke, the newly appointed chairman for Hindley’s Prison Officer Association, said: “I have worked at the prison for 10 years and I would put this down to good staffing.

“We have a good team of staff who work together and try their best to prevent it to the best of their ability.

“All agencies within the prison work to provide the best care that we can.”

Mr Rourke believes that an influx in staff has gone some way to help focus on those inmates with serious mental health issues.

“The more staff you have in place, the better it is for all safety regimes,” he said. “It’s not just the monitoring of inmates which improves but there are certain prisoners who really need that interaction.

“The more staff to have that time to promote purposeful activities the better. The underlying issues are still there but when you have more time to speak and get prisoners engaged, it really helps.”

Inquests were carried out following both of the inmates’ deaths and it was concluded they took their own lives.

Stephen Connell, 20, was found hanged in his cell by officers. He was serving a sentence for breaching licence conditions.

Just 14 months later, 35-year-old inmate Anthony Roland Hill, took his life just days after being given a restraining order against his partner.