26 October 2023

The Ministry of Justice has today (26 October 2023) released the latest quarterly statistics on deaths and self-harm in prison in England and Wales. They show the number of self-inflicted deaths in prisons has risen by 24% in the 12 months to September.

There were a total of 304 deaths of people in prison in the period, 92 of which were self-inflicted. The statistics also show that self-harm is once again rising across prisons, with the starkest rise of 63% in the women’s estate.

Rosanna Ellul, Policy and Parliamentary Manager at INQUEST, said: “These appalling statistics are yet another indictment of our unsafe prison system. Yet while these figures should be a sobering reminder of the inherent harms of prison, the government are determined to expand the prison estate by 20,000 places.

As the prison population grows, we know the number of preventable deaths in prison will too. Successive governments have failed to properly consider measures to reduce reliance on prisons and, in the process, save lives.

In the short-term, urgent action is needed to ensure people in prison have access to healthcare and adequate support. In the long term, we need a dramatic reduction of the prison population and more investment in alternatives which prevent harms in our society, rather than cause more harm.”    



For further information, interview requests and to note your interest, please contact [email protected] or leave a voicemail on 020 7263 1111 (option 3). 

For more information and summaries of the circumstances of deaths of people in prison, see our report Deaths in prison: A national scandal (January 2021) and latest Media Releases on prison cases.

Please refer to the Samaritans Media Guidelines for reporting suicide and self-harm.