Women in Prison respond to Independent Monitoring Board report on HMP Eastwood Park 2022/23

128% rise in self-harm incidents in 2022/23 at HMP Eastwood Park, according to IMB report

Women in Prison has commented on a new report on HMP Eastwood Park from the Independent Monitoring Board for prisons for the period November 2022 to October 2023.

  • The report found that the number of self-harm incidents rose by 128% across the reporting year, including 502 incidents in January 2023.
  • 85% of self-harm incidents involved 19 women.
  • Mentally unwell women are waiting too long for transfers to secure mental health hospitals, with 40% of women waiting longer than the 28-day target.
  • Women were spending long periods of time locked in their cells.
  • Independent Monitoring Board recommends that mentally unwell women and those with complex needs should be looked after in the health system, not the criminal justice system.

Sonya Ruparel, CEO of Women in Prison, commented:

“This is yet another troubling report which tells us that prisons are not a safe place for women.

The increasing levels of self-harm, currently 10 times that of the male estate, and severely mentally unwell women being in prison is wholly unacceptable.

Most women in prison have not committed a violent crime and are serving short sentences that turn their lives upside-down.

Rather than locking women up, we need to invest in community-based services - like domestic abuse, welfare, mental health and housing - to address the root causes that draw women into the criminal justice system.

The Government should realise the ambitions of their Female Offender Strategy to reduce the women’s prison population as quickly as possible, and end the harm of prison to women, their children and communities.”


Contact [email protected] 07823 412 090

Women in Prison (WIP) is a national charity that delivers support for women affected by the criminal justice system in prisons, in the community and through our Women's Centres. We campaign to end the harm caused to women, their families and our communities by imprisonment.

Key statistics

  • The women's population increased to 3,611 in November 2023 and is projected to increase further to 4,200 by November 2027. (Ministry of Justice)
  • Self-harm is at the highest levels we’ve seen – 10x that in the male estate (Ministry of Justice)
  • 82% of women in prison report mental health problems (Bromley Briefing, Prison Reform Trust)
  • 25% of women in prison have symptoms indicating psychosis (Bromley Briefing, Prison Reform Trust)
  • 46% of women in prison have attempted suicide (Bromley Briefing, Prison Reform Trust)