Six prisoners commit suicide in county jails, figures show

Six prisoners in South Yorkshire have taken their own lives in jail this year, new figures have revealed.

One person at HMP Doncaster, a Category B men’s private prison, three at HMP Moorland, Category C men’s prison and Young Offenders Institution, and two at Lindholme, a Category C/D men’s prison, have committed suicide this year.

Across England and Wales, more than 100 prisoners have taken their lives in 2016 – making it the worst year ever recorded for suicides in jail.

The Howard League for Penal Reform said it has been notified of 102 people dying by suicide behind bars since the beginning of 2016 – one every three days.

With five weeks remaining until the end of the year, it is already the highest death toll in a calendar year since current recording practices began in 1978.

The previous high was in 2004, when 96 deaths by suicide were recorded.

Recommendations to tackle the problem are set out in a new report, Preventing Prison Suicide, jointly published by the Howard League and another charity, Centre for Mental Health. The report says the rise in the number of prison suicides has coincided with cuts to staffing and budgets and a rise in the number of people in prison, resulting in overcrowding. Violence has increased and safety has deteriorated.

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