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SERIOUS RISE IN NUMBER OF SELF-INFLICTED PRISON DEATHS: TOLL REACHES 29 SO FAR THIS YEAR
10 April 2014
The number of reported self-inflicted deaths has reached 29 so far this year (to 6 April 2014). This is almost three times the number over the same period last year: from 1 January 2013 – 6 April 2013 there were 11 self inflicted deaths in prison.
Since October 2013, when only 1 self-inflicted death was reported, there have been 50 self-inflicted deaths in prison in total. There were 23 over the same period one year ago.
INQUEST would like to know whether recent government changes to treatment of prisoners and funding cuts could be at the root of the sharp increase in numbers.
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:
“Prisoners are dying in shocking numbers and it is time to find out why. We are seriously concerned whether harsher regimes introduced by the Justice Secretary on 1 November are having a devastating impact.
“The government must act urgently to examine what has caused such an alarming rise.”
‘I was already working with INQUEST, which is the organisation who monitor deaths in custody, and at one AGM I told the audience that what happened to these people [killed in police custody like Chistopher Alder, Roger Sylvester and many others] could happen to any of us. And then a couple of years later, I was standing in front of them again but now it had happened to my cousin. So my family and me were now “users” of Inquest. It shows you that none of us are immune – here am I, Benjamin Zephaniah, patron of INQUEST and client of INQUEST at the same time.’
– Benjamin Zephaniah