Whitemoor Prison 2014 death toll revealed in report as suicides behind bars increase across England and Wales

HMP Whitemoor

HMP Whitemoor - Credit: Archant

Four people died at Whitemoor Prison last year, a report has revealed.

The Howard League for Penal Reform’s report says three prisoners died of natural causes while one committed suicide.

In total, 235 people died in prisons in England and Wales during 2014.

Eighty-two prisoners took their own lives as the suicide rate behind bars rose to its highest level for seven years.

Wandsworth Prison had the most deaths (10) and the joint highest number of suicides (four, with Elmley).

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The statistics are based on notifications from the Ministry of Justice, which records deaths in custody.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, a national charity working for fewer people to go to prison, said: “No one should be so desperate whilst they are in the care of the state that they take their own life.

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“The numbers hide the true extent of misery inside prisons and for families. It is particularly tragic that teenagers and other young people have died by their own hand in our prisons and we should all be ashamed that this happened.

“Hard-pressed prison staff have to save lives by cutting people down almost every day and without this the death toll would be even higher.

“It is evident that people are dying as a direct result of the cuts to the number of staff, particularly more experienced staff, in every prison.

“The government has chosen to allow the prison population to increase whilst it cuts staff, and that has led to an increase in people dying by suicide.”

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