Media Media releases INQUEST responds to the latest MOJ Safety in Custody Statistics 26 July 2018 The Ministry of Justice has today (26 July 2018) released the latest statistics on safety, deaths and self-harm in custody. The data shows that levels of self-harm and violence in prison continues to escalate. While the number of overall deaths have reduced since 2016, they are still at historically high levels. Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said: "These statistics point to the disturbing reality of prison life with escalating levels of distress, self-harm, homicide and violence. The only way to improve safety and reduce prison deaths is to dramatically cut the prison population and invest in community alternatives. The number of deaths awaiting classification in this period has more than doubled with the majority of people found unresponsive in their cells. The undetermined nature of these deaths raises questions as to whether they are drug related or due to undiagnosed or untreated health conditions. Findings from inquests continue to expose neglect and inadequate health and mental health care as contributing to avoidable and premature deaths. The criminal justice system cannot deal with societal problems of mental and physical ill heath, drug misuse and poverty.”ENDS NOTES TO EDITORSFor further information, please contact Lucy McKay or Sarah Uncles on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected] [email protected] INQUEST publishes live statistics on deaths in prison, available here. These statistics are reported by calendar year, from now to 1990.