Self-harm cases at Hindley prison hit a record high of almost one a day

HMP HIndley
HMP HIndley

The number of inmates deliberately injuring themselves at Wigan’s jail has hit a record high of almost one a day.

Shock new figures from the Ministry of Justice show that there were 349 self-harm cases recorded at Hindley Prison in 2018, with 20 casualties referred to hospital. This is up from 233 during the previous year and is the highest figure since incidents started being recorded in 2004.

In 2013, there were 119 incidents of self-harm recorded, meaning there has been a massive 193 per cent increase in the space of five years.

In Hindley, one prisoner died in 2018.

The numbers also reveal that there were 260 assaults in Hindley in 2018, a national trend-bucking 27 per cent drop on 2013.

In total, 40 were defined as serious, including sexual assaults and those where victims required hospital in-patient treatment.

Across England and Wales, 325 deaths were recorded in prisons in 2018, up from 295 the previous year.

It follows a violent trend across England and Wales’s prisons, where deaths, assaults and self-harm incidents were all at record levels last year.

Prisons minister Rory Stewart said figures were “unacceptably high”, and warned that the effort required to return long-term stability to the prison estate should not be underestimated.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “These figures reveal the sheer scale of the challenge to transform a prison system that has been overburdened and under-resourced for years. Change is happening, but it is like trying to turn around an oil tanker.

“I welcome the Government’s efforts to reduce violence, including recruiting more staff to increase numbers and refresh the workforce, but fundamental reform is being stymied by the lack of parliamentary time available for legislation.”

“I believe the will is there among ministers to make prisons safe and to reduce their unnecessary use, but in the end, lives can only be saved and violence reduced if the nettle of reform is grasped.”

The prisons minister Rory Stewart said: “Violence and self-harm in prisons remains unacceptably high, but I’m pleased at these early signs that we are making progress.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see a quarterly drop in violence, the first in two years. Our dedicated prison staff deserve enormous credit and I want to thank them all for their tireless work.

“There is still much to do, however, and no one should underestimate the effort required to return long-term stability to the prison estate.”

Across prisons in England and Wales, more than 34,000 assaults were recorded in 2018, an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year. Self-harm also increased by 25 per cent, with nearly 56,000 cases in 2018.