The 30 most overcrowded prisons in England and Wales are twice as likely to be rated as failing by the prison service compared with prisons overall, a new analysis published with the latest annual edition of the Prison Reform Trust’s Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile (supported by the Bromley Trust) reveals.
The Bromley Briefing paints a bleak portrait of a prison system stretched beyond its safe and decent limit and highlights the scale of the challenge ahead for the UK Justice Secretary Liz Truss as she seeks to implement her plans for prison safety and reform.
Key facts from the report include:
- 324 people died in prison in the year to September 2016, the highest number on record. A third of these deaths were self-inflicted;
- Serious assaults in prison have more than doubled in the last three years. There were 2,462 serious prisoner on prisoner assaults in the year to June 2016;
- Rates of self-harm are at the highest level ever recorded. There were 36,440 self-harm incidents in the year to June 2016—a 52% rise in just two years;
- Nearly one in three people (31%) held in a local prison said they spent less than two hours out of their cell each day;
- Only one in seven people said they spent 10 hours or more out of their cell each day;
- The National Tactical Response Group, a specialist unit assisting in safely managing and resolving serious incidents in prisons responded to over 400 incidents in the first eight months of 2016—more than the whole of 2015.
The introduction to the briefing calls for a comprehensive strategy on prison reform to reduce overcrowding and pressures on the system. Proposed measures include reform to the sentencing framework to limit the use of long determinate and indeterminate sentences; the release of some IPP prisoners held beyond their tariff expiry date; changes to the arrangements for recall; an early release scheme linked to constructive activity in prison; and a drive to increase the uptake of effective community approaches.
Read the report here.