Every death in custody is a tragedy and we are committed to reducing the number of deaths in prisons.
Summary statistics on deaths in prison custody by apparent cause are published quarterly, and the latest annual figures, for the ten years to September 2015, can be found in Table 2 of the Safety in Custody statistics bulletin available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/472712/Safety-in-custody-summary-q2-2015.xls
Figures on the number of deaths caused by the use of “legal highs”, or new psychoactive substances, are not held centrally. All deaths in prison custody are subject to a coroner’s inquest, and it is the responsibility of the coroner to determine the cause of death. The NOMS system for classifying deaths provides a provisional classification for administrative and statistical purposes. The final classifications are determined at inquest.