Prisoners: Self-harm:Written question - 56256

Asked on: 06 December 2016
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Self-harm
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Prison Reform Trust briefing, Prison: the facts, Summer 2016, what assessment the Government has made of the rate of self-harm among prisoners serving sentences for public protection; and what steps her Department is taking to reduce that rate.
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 14 December 2016

The Government believes that prisons should be places of safety and reform, and reducing self-harm is a key priority. Our recent White Paper sets out the specific steps that we are taking to improve safety. They include investing over £100m to recruit an additional 2,500 staff across the estate by the end of 2018.

The National Offender Management Service has launched a suicide and self-harm reduction project, led by an experienced prison governor, which is driving work in this area. This includes implementing the recommendations of a review of the Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) process, which is the main tool for managing prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm. ACCT is a multi-disciplinary case management process which includes support plans that reflect prisoners’ individual needs, including any that are related to their progress through sentence.

The Government is committed to making prisons safe. Reducing self-inflicted deaths is a key priority for the Government.

As part of this, providing the right intervention and treatment is vital to improving the outcomes for people who are suffering and all prisons have established procedures in place to identify, manage and support people with mental health issues or at risk of suicide or self-harm.

But we recognise that more can be done. That is why we have invested in specialist mental health training for prison officers, allocated more funding for prison safety and have launched a suicide and self-harm reduction project to address the increase in self-inflicted deaths and self-harm in our prisons.

These improvements and reforms will benefit any prisoner who is vulnerable, suffering from a mental health problem or at risk of committing suicide – including a prisoner serving a sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP). Additionally, to improve progression for all IPP prisoners, we have set up a new unit within the Ministry of Justice, are working with the Parole Board to enhance its capacity and so increase the efficiency of the parole process and, finally, providing better access to suitable interventions.

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