13 December 2019

The Public Accounts Committee have today published a report on mental health in prison, available here.

Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST said:

“This report highlights the shameful record of self-inflicted deaths and self-harm in prison and the shocking admission by Government that it has no reliable data on how many people in prison have mental ill health.  

Our casework with the families of those who died shows that so many of these deaths were preventable and highlight systematic failings in care of people with mental ill health. The criminalisation of people with mental health problems must end. Tackling mental health in prisons means a dramatic reduction in the prison population, investment in alternatives and a more therapeutic response to those for whom prisons is the last resort.  

This adds to a plethora of damning inquiries, inquests and investigations that are systematically ignored. Urgent sustained political action is long overdue to prevent a spiral of further deaths and harms inside."



For further information, please contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected]

  • You can find full and up to date statistics on deaths in prison here.
  • Other recent reports include:
    • Joint Committee on Human Rights’ interim report on mental health and deaths in prison, available here.
    • National Audit Office report on mental health in prisons, available here.
    • Prison and Probation Ombudsman, Learning Lessons Bulletin on self-inflicted deaths in women’s prisons, available here.
    • The IAP on deaths in custody initial report on deaths of women in prison, available here.

  • Recent inquest conclusions on deaths in prison:
    • Jury identified systemic failures in relation to suicide and self harm management in a G4S run prison (link)
    • Jury finds prison failings at HMP Doncaster were causative of the death of vulnerable prisoner Gerard Scahill (link)
    • Latest inquest into prisoner death at HMP Winchester finds more failings (link)
    • Jury finds systematic failings at HMP Bedford contributed to the death of Mark Vagnoni (link)
    • Jury concludes unnecessary delays and failures in care contributed to death of Sarah Reed at Holloway prison (link)
    • Jury finds neglect at HMP Liverpool contributed to the death of Ned O’Donnell (link)