Assaults at Wiltshire's prison set to hit highest level on record

Erlestoke Prison (credit Google Street View)

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 12:06pm 12th February 2019. (Updated at 1:36pm 12th February 2019)

New figures show by the end of September 2018, there were 101 assaults in Erlestoke Prison.

That's more than the whole of 2017, when 80 were recorded.

It follows a violent trend across England and Wales’s prisons, where deaths, assaults and self-harm incidents were all at record levels over the nine months.

Last week, the Justice Secretary admitted levels of violence and self-harm in prisons are "unacceptably high", and described numbers showing increases in all the key categories as "disturbing".

BREAKDOWN OF ASSAULTS AT ERLESTOKE:

Of the 101 assaults recorded at the Wiltshire jail by the end of September, 41 were on prison staff.

In total, 16 were defined as serious, which include sexual assaults and those where victims required hospital in-patient treatment.

The numbers also reveal that there were 225 cases of self-harm in Erlestoke in the first nine months of 2018, six times the number in the same period in 2013.

NATIONAL PICTURE:

Across prisons in England and Wales, nearly 34,000 assaults were recorded in the year to September 2018, an increase of 20% on the previous 12 months.

Self-harm also increased by 23%, with nearly 53,000 cases in the year to September 2018.

Across England and Wales, 325 deaths were recorded in prisons in 2018. They include 92 self-inflicted deaths, up 31% on the previous year.

In Erlestoke, no prisoners died in 2018 .

asaults
Across England and Wales there were nearly 34,000 assaults recorded in the year to September 2018.

Commenting on the national figures, Andrew Neilson, campaigns director for the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:

"No one should be so desperate while in the care of the state that they decide to take their own life. It is a national scandal that the number of prisoners losing their lives through suicide has risen again.

Particularly concerning is the growing number of people, including several men in their twenties, who have died in as yet unexplained circumstances. One cannot begin to imagine the pain this is causing to grieving families who still do not know how or why their loved ones died."

The Justice Secretary, David Gauke, said:

"Violence and self-harm in our prisons is unacceptably high and these figures underline why we are spending an extra £70m to fight the drugs plaguing prisons and boost security, while also training over 4,000 new prison officers in handling the complex offender population.

"Clearly there is a huge amount yet to be done but I am determined to cut the violence so prisons can focus on rehabilitating the offenders who will be back out at some point.

"And while these figures are disturbing, I am optimistic that the measures we have been putting in place will help us to reduce violence and ultimately better protect the public."

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