Two incidents of self-harm every day at Leeds Prison

There were approximately two incidents of self-harm among inmates at HMP Leeds last year.

The prison in Armley recorded a record 712 incidents of self-injury in 2017, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice .

This was an increase of 30 per cent on 2016 when 548 such incidents were recorded.

Self-harm is so widespread at HMP Leeds that there are 65 cases per 100 prisoners, the figures reveal. In 2014 just 133 cases were reported.

The total has grown every year since then to reach last year’s record high, although some self-harm incidents may have gone unreported in previous years.

Last year prisoners hurt themselves seriously enough to have to go to hospital 38 times at the facility.

HMP Leeds was not the worst for self-harming however; Eastwood Park women’s prison in South Gloucestershire has the worst self-harm problem in the prison system.

There were only 394 women on average at the prison in 2017/18 but there were 1,770 cases recorded in 2017.

Overall, female prisoners were almost five times as likely as male prisoners to self-harm.

About half of prisoners who self-harmed did so once, with women more likely than men to do so on more than one occasion.

Some 872 different prisoners were found to have self-harmed 10 or more times.

In total there were 44,651 cases of self-harm in prisons in England and Wales in 2017, or about five per hour. This was a record high for the system.

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The disclosure that assaults and incidents of self-injury have been under-reported further illustrates the chaos that we have seen in our overcrowded and under-resourced prison system in recent years.

“With incidents of self-injury happening every 11 minutes, with assaults occurring every 17 minutes and with six people dying in prison every week, the government must act boldly and decisively to prevent more bloodshed behind bars.

“Reducing the number of people in prison would save lives, protect staff and prevent more people being swept into deeper currents of crime, violence and despair.”

A Prison Service spokesperson said:“The number of self-inflicted deaths and self-harm in prisons is too high which is why we are rolling out new training for staff on suicide and self-harm prevention — this has reached more than 14,000 staff.”

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