MoJ reveals record number of assaults in England and Wales
TWENTY attacks on prison staff by inmates are recorded every day in England and Wales, according to official Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures released yesterday.
Assaults and self-harm have climbed to record levels.
In the year to June, there were 27,193 assaults. Of these, 7,437 were attacks on staff, a rise of a quarter compared with the previous year.
The number includes 798 incidents classed as serious, such as those which require medical treatment or result in fractures, burns or extensive bruising.
The MoJ report also noted that assaults on staff reached a quarterly record high of 2,011.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said that government cuts are “squarely to blame” for the worsening prisons crisis.
“Every few months we get a new record for the number of assaults as the government’s cutting of prisons budgets and staff bites. It is scandalous that we now have an assault every 20 minutes in our prisons,” he said.
“Government policies that have led to severe overcrowding and cutting of more than 6,000 prison officers are squarely to blame for this situation. Yet one in three prisons suffered further cuts in officer numbers in the first six months of this year alone.
“When prisoners can’t be let out of their cells for 23 hours a day due to soaring violence and understaffing, it makes a mockery of the government’s claims that it is turning prisons into places of education and reform.”
While the majority of violence against staff was seen in men’s prisons, there were 344 assaults on staff in women’s prisons — the highest number for an equivalent period since the year to June 2008.
Prisoner-on-prisoner assaults were up a tenth to 19,678, with almost 3,000 of these classed as serious.
Self-harm reached a record high of 41,103 incidents in the 12 months to June, up 12 per cent from the previous year.
In the year to September there were 300 deaths in prison custody — including three murders and 77 suicides — which is a reduction on the previous year.
Prison Reform Trust policy head Mark Day said: “Despite a small but welcome fall in deaths, every other indicator points to the ongoing and long-standing deterioration in standards of safety in our overstretched prisons.
“Too many prisoners are held in overcrowded and impoverished conditions with too few staff to provide a safe and constructive regime.”