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Call for action after Doncaster prison death

File picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian (taken 18 June 2013).

Lindholme Prison, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, where two prisoners have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a 22-year-old inmate died there on Saturday 21 December 2013.

File picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian (taken 18 June 2013). Lindholme Prison, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, where two prisoners have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a 22-year-old inmate died there on Saturday 21 December 2013.

 

A charity is calling for urgent action after a rise in the number of suspected murders and self-inflicted deaths behind bars - including one in Doncaster.

The Howard League for Penal Reform said figures for 2013 showed a sharp rise in the number of suspected murders and self-inflicted deaths behind bars.

Data compiled by The Howard League for Penal Reform showed there were four alleged homicides in prisons in England and Wales in 2013 – the most in a calendar year since 1998. This included one at Lindholme Prison.

In total, 199 deaths were reported during 2013, of which 70 were self-inflicted – the highest rate in six years.

More than 100 prisoners died of natural causes, and a further 22 deaths are yet to be classified by prison authorities.

The statistics are based on notifications from the Ministry of Justice, which records deaths in custody.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Each death in custody is a tragedy and almost all of them are preventable.

“The responsibility for an increase in the number of people who take their own lives in prison lies squarely with those who advocate putting behind bars more and more people who do not need to be there.

“This is the consequence of a policy that squanders a scarce resource, meaning that these institutions cannot keep people safe.”

Professor David Wilson, vice chair of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This is the highest number of alleged murders since 1998 and it reflects deep structural problems about control and order inside our jails – not our most high-security jails, but every prison in which we currently lock people up.

“The prison service has a duty of care to prisoners that this murder rate suggests it cannot deliver.”

 
 
 

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