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Prison and Probation Ombudsman Stresses Concerns On Rising Female Suicides

View profile for Komal Hussain
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The prisons and probation ombudsman has commented on a “lack of concerted and sustained action” following a rise in the number of suicides among female prisoners.

He warned that wide scale reform proposed a decade ago following a review of the experiences of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system had not materialised.

“I find it disheartening that many of the lessons we identify to prevent women in custody from taking their own lives repeat those in previous publications from my office,” said the ombudsman, who is due to publish a bulletin examining 19 cases of women who killed themselves between 2013 and 2016.

Suicides among female inmates have been on the rise, with 12 recorded last year – more than double than the number in 2015.

A record 119 people killed themselves in prisons in England and Wales in 2016 – an increase of 29 (32%) on the previous year, according to Ministry of Justice figures.

The record number of suicides in prison – amounting to one every three days – compares with the previous high of 96 in 2004 and represents a doubling of the rate since 2012.

The Government has stated that it is addressing these concerns and is working closely with the NHS to provide more support to vulnerable prisoners. It is yet to be seen whether the number of suicides amongst the female prison population will decrease. It is hoped that recommendation are implemented as a matter of urgency to avoid further deaths.

If you  would like to speak with a member of the Minton Morrill Civil Liberties Department regarding any of the above issues, please call on 0113 245 8549 or contact us by email at