In this country we do not give a death sentence, but for everyone who has taken their life in prison that is exactly what they got.

 - Mark Saunders, whose son Dean died in HMP Chelmsford in 2016

Since 1990, at least 4589 people have died in prisons in England and Wales. 2066 of those deaths were self-inflicted; there have been 43 self-inflicted deaths in prison so far this year. In 2016 there were 354 deaths in prison, the highest number we have ever recorded. 

Below is a breakdown of deaths in prison in England and Wales by calendar year (January-December) since 1990. For further broken-down figures, see: 

Deaths in prison (England & Wales) 1990-date
Year Self- Inflicted Non- Self- Inflicted Other Non- natural causes Restraint Homicide Awaiting Classification Total
2018 43 60 0 0 3 52 158
2017 68 184 5 0 3 32 292
2016 120 206 10 0 3 15 354
2015 89 145 6 1 8 7 256
2014 89 145 5 1 3 0 243
2013 76 130 5 0 4 0 215
2012 61 123 8 0 0 0 192
2011 58 120 10 0 2 0 190
2010 58 125 12 1 1 0 197
2009 61 104 4 0 0 0 169
2008 61 100 2 0 3 0 166
2007 91 89 4 0 2 0 186
2006 66 83 3 0 1 0 153
2005 78 87 4 1 3 0 173
2004 95 107 4 0 2 0 208
2003 93 78 0 0 1 0 172
2002 96 57 0 0 0 0 153
2001 73 52 0 0 1 0 126
2000 82 56 0 0 3 0 141
1999 91 55 0 0 0 0 146
1998 83 45 0 0 6 0 134
1997 69 47 0 0 2 0 118
1996 65 52 0 0 2 0 119
1995 59 7 0 3 3 0 72
1994 59 5* 0 1 2 0 67
1993 48 2* 0 0 1 0 51
1992 40 2* 0 0 0 0 42
1991 42 1* 0 1 0 0 44
1990 52 0* 0 0 0 0 52
Totals: 2066 2267* 82 9 59 106 4589

*Detailed Home Office statistics pre-1996 are not available, hence the low number of non-self-inflicted deaths INQUEST is aware of in those years.

These figures do not include deaths in immigration removal centres (IRCs) and immigration detention centresbut do include deaths of people held in prisons as immigration detainees.

Figures last updated 19 July 2018.