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Written Question
Pentonville Prison
16 Mar 2017

Questioner: Lord Knight of Weymouth (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the fulfilment of the duty of care to ensure the safety of prisoners and staff at HMP Pentonville, since 1 January 2013.

Answered by Lord Keen of Elie

Safety is an ongoing key priority for this Government. Extra funding for Violence Reduction has been provided to address issues of violence and to allow for improvements to be made in the prison environment. Our recently published White Paper on prison reform announced a major shake-up of the prison system to help make prisons places of safety and reform.

Since January 2013 the fulfilment of the duty of care to ensure the safety of prisoners and staff at HMP Pentonville has been assessed by a number of means. The London and Thames Valley Deputy Director has frequently visited the prison to assess and report progress; National audits of Safer Custody and Security have occurred annually; Independent Monitoring Board reports have been produced annually; and HM Inspectorate of Prisons has visited in January 2015 and January 2017.

The prison has delivered improvements in security, with metal detection devices being used for all movement off the wings and improved mobile phone detectors utilised across the prison. Patrol dog cover has also been introduced into the establishment which is continuing until further notice.

The window replacement programme began on the 5 December 2016. This has focused on the areas of greatest vulnerability to items being thrown through these windows, additionally the priority areas of netting have been fixed in all areas around the prison.

There is extensive CCTV coverage and HMP Pentonville have recently improved the way these cameras are monitored by increasing the number of staff monitoring them.


Written Question
Pentonville Prison
16 Mar 2017

Questioner: Lord Knight of Weymouth (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the escape of two prisoners from HMP Pentonville in November and other recent security breaches, when they first became aware of deficiencies in the perimeter security at that prison, with particular regard to the nets and windows; and when work to make good those deficiencies will be completed.

Answered by Lord Keen of Elie

A project to renew those windows identified as in need of replacement was approved and released to tender in the summer of 2016 as part of a standard maintenance programme, with work beginning in November 2016 and due to finish in March 2017.

Following a recent review of security at Pentonville a secondary project to carry out further work including the fitting of netting and additional window replacement is due to begin in April with a forecast completion date of June.

Additionally a project to repair the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System and CCTV is due to start during April with a forecast completion date of June 2017.

There is extensive CCTV coverage and HMP Pentonville have recently improved the way these cameras are monitored by increasing the number of staff monitoring them.


Written Question
Prisoners: Death
14 Mar 2017

Questioner: Lord Knight of Weymouth (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the respective responsibilities of (1) the Coroner, (2) the police, (3) the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, and (4) the Crown Prosecution Service, in respect of a death in prison.

Answered by Lord Keen of Elie

In the event of a death in prison in England and Wales the police and Crown Prosecution Service will proceed in accordance with the Appropriate Handling of Crimes in Prisons protocol which was agreed in 2015 between the National Offender Management Service, the CPS and the National Police Chiefs’ Council. A copy of the protocol can be found on the CPS website. Prisons have guidance, the Prison Service Safe Custody Guidance, which can be found on the Ministry of Justice website.

All prison deaths are initially treated as potential homicides and the Senior Coroner for the area in question has a duty to undertake an inquest into the death. The coroner may issue a Report to Prevent Future Deaths. In addition, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will undertake an independent investigation to identify any learning points and contribute to safer custody and offender supervision.

Prisons and the police are devolved matters in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Written Question
Segregation of Prisoners
29 Jul 2014

Questioner: Lord Knight of Weymouth (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prisoners with known mental health problems have been kept in segregated custody for longer than 24 hours in the last year.

Answered by Lord Faulks

Figures recording the number of prisoners with known mental health problems who have been placed in segregation for longer than 24 hours during the last year are not gathered centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost by collating the information from records held at each prison.


Written Question
Prisoners: Self-harm
28 Jul 2014

Questioner: Lord Knight of Weymouth (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the change in numbers of prisoners in the United Kingdom committing acts of self-harm in custody for each of the last 10 years; and what the percentage change has been year on year for the same period.

Answered by Lord Faulks

The government is committed to open and transparent reporting of self-harm in custody and publish statistics on self-harm in prison custody in England and Wales quarterly in the National Statistics “Safety in Custody” bulletin. This statistical series can be found at www.gov.uk/government/collections/safety-in-custody-statistics.

The number of individuals committing at least one self-harm incident in prison custody in each year and year-on-year change is presented in table 1.

Figures are provided for England and Wales only. Figures are not published by the Ministry of Justice for other areas of the United Kingdom as the judicial systems are a devolved matter for the respective administrations.

Around 80 prisoners in every 1,000 in prison custody self-harm.

Table 1: Year-on-year percentage change of individuals self-harming in prison custody, England and Wales

Year

Number

Year-on-year change (%)

Number of individuals self-harming per 1,000 prisoners

2005

5,837

-

77

2006

6,090

4%

78

2007

6,296

3%

78

2008

6,586

5%

80

2009

7,149

9%

86

2010

6,767

-5%

80

2011

6,907

2%

80

2012

6,821

-1%

79

2013

6,823

0%

81

All prisons have procedures to identify, manage and support people who are at risk of harm to themselves. Prisoners at risk are subject to individual case management and receive support from prison staff, supplemented, where appropriate, by input from mental health services and a range of other sources such as peer supporters and the Samaritans.

Additional resources and support are being provided for safer custody work in prisons and in particular to improve the consistency of the application of the case management system for prisoners identified as at risk of self harm or suicide.


Written Question
Prisoners: Suicide
28 Jul 2014

Questioner: Lord Knight of Weymouth (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prisoners have committed suicide in custody in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years; and what the percentage change has been year on year for the same period.

Answered by Lord Faulks

The government is committed to open and transparent reporting of deaths in custody and publish statistics on deaths in prison custody in England and Wales quarterly in the National Statistics “Safety in Custody” bulletin. This statistical series can be found at www.gov.uk/government/collections/safety-in-custody-statistics.

The number of (i) deaths in prison custody and year-on-year change is presented in table 1. The number of (ii) self-inflicted deaths in prison custody and year-on-year change is presented in table 2.

Figures are provided for England and Wales only. Figures are not published by the Ministry of Justice for other areas of the United Kingdom as the judicial systems are a devolved matter for the respective administrations.

In 2013 there were 2.55 deaths per 1,000 prisoners and between 2008 and 2013 less than 1 prisoner in every 1,000 died from a self-inflicted death. The rate of self-inflicted deaths was consistently above 1 death per 1,000 prisoners between 1993 and 2005, peaking at 1.4 self-inflicted deaths per 1,000 prisoners in 1999.

Table 1: Number of deaths and year-on-year percentage change of deaths in prison custody

Year

Number

Year-on-year change (%)

Death rate per 1,000 prisoners

2004

208

-

2.79

2005

175

-16%

2.30

2006

153

-13%

1.96

2007

185

21%

2.30

2008

166

-10%

2.01

2009

169

2%

2.02

2010

198

17%

2.34

2011

192

-3%

2.24

2012

192

0%

2.23

2013

215

12%

2.55

Table 2: Number of self-inflicted deaths and year-on-year percentage change of self-inflicted deaths in prison custody

Year

Number

Year-on-year change (%)

Self-inflicted deaths per 1,000 prisoners

2004

96

-

1.29

2005

78

-19%

1.03

2006

66

-15%

0.84

2007

92

39%

1.14

2008

61

-34%

0.74

2009

61

0%

0.73

2010

58

-5%

0.68

2011

57

-2%

0.66

2012

60

5%

0.70

2013

74

23%

0.88

Reducing the number of self-inflicted deaths in custody is a key priority – we are working hard to understand the reasons for the recent rise in self-inflicted deaths. But this is a complex issue and there is no simple explanation for the rise.

All deaths are subject to investigation by the police and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and a Coroner’s inquest, and strenuous efforts are made to learn lessons from these processes.

All prisons have procedures to identify, manage and support people who are at risk of harm to themselves. Prisoners at risk are subject to individual case management and receive support from prison staff, supplemented, where appropriate, by input from mental health services and a range of other sources such as peer supporters and the Samaritans.

There is strong oversight of deaths in custody through the Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody, which includes an Independent Advisory Panel that has recently been commissioned by the Secretary of State to conduct an independent review of deaths of 18-24 year olds in prison custody since 2007 to report by spring 2015. This will help identify learning points that can be applied across all age groups.

Additional resources and support are being provided for safer custody work in prisons and in particular to improve the consistency of the application of the case management system for prisoners identified as at risk of self harm or suicide.


Written Question
Prisoners: Death
28 Jul 2014

Questioner: Lord Knight of Weymouth (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prisoners have died in custody in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years; and what the percentage change has been year on year for the same period.

Answered by Lord Faulks

The government is committed to open and transparent reporting of deaths in custody and publish statistics on deaths in prison custody in England and Wales quarterly in the National Statistics “Safety in Custody” bulletin. This statistical series can be found at www.gov.uk/government/collections/safety-in-custody-statistics.

The number of (i) deaths in prison custody and year-on-year change is presented in table 1. The number of (ii) self-inflicted deaths in prison custody and year-on-year change is presented in table 2.

Figures are provided for England and Wales only. Figures are not published by the Ministry of Justice for other areas of the United Kingdom as the judicial systems are a devolved matter for the respective administrations.

In 2013 there were 2.55 deaths per 1,000 prisoners and between 2008 and 2013 less than 1 prisoner in every 1,000 died from a self-inflicted death. The rate of self-inflicted deaths was consistently above 1 death per 1,000 prisoners between 1993 and 2005, peaking at 1.4 self-inflicted deaths per 1,000 prisoners in 1999.

Table 1: Number of deaths and year-on-year percentage change of deaths in prison custody

Year

Number

Year-on-year change (%)

Death rate per 1,000 prisoners

2004

208

-

2.79

2005

175

-16%

2.30

2006

153

-13%

1.96

2007

185

21%

2.30

2008

166

-10%

2.01

2009

169

2%

2.02

2010

198

17%

2.34

2011

192

-3%

2.24

2012

192

0%

2.23

2013

215

12%

2.55

Table 2: Number of self-inflicted deaths and year-on-year percentage change of self-inflicted deaths in prison custody

Year

Number

Year-on-year change (%)

Self-inflicted deaths per 1,000 prisoners

2004

96

-

1.29

2005

78

-19%

1.03

2006

66

-15%

0.84

2007

92

39%

1.14

2008

61

-34%

0.74

2009

61

0%

0.73

2010

58

-5%

0.68

2011

57

-2%

0.66

2012

60

5%

0.70

2013

74

23%

0.88

Reducing the number of self-inflicted deaths in custody is a key priority – we are working hard to understand the reasons for the recent rise in self-inflicted deaths. But this is a complex issue and there is no simple explanation for the rise.

All deaths are subject to investigation by the police and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and a Coroner’s inquest, and strenuous efforts are made to learn lessons from these processes.

All prisons have procedures to identify, manage and support people who are at risk of harm to themselves. Prisoners at risk are subject to individual case management and receive support from prison staff, supplemented, where appropriate, by input from mental health services and a range of other sources such as peer supporters and the Samaritans.

There is strong oversight of deaths in custody through the Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody, which includes an Independent Advisory Panel that has recently been commissioned by the Secretary of State to conduct an independent review of deaths of 18-24 year olds in prison custody since 2007 to report by spring 2015. This will help identify learning points that can be applied across all age groups.

Additional resources and support are being provided for safer custody work in prisons and in particular to improve the consistency of the application of the case management system for prisoners identified as at risk of self harm or suicide.