Women in Prison respond to Safety in Custody quarterly update to December 2023

Women in Prison respond to Safety in Custody statistics April 2024

Rates of self-harm and the number of women self-harming have increased, according to quarterly update from the Ministry of Justice
  • Self-harm incidents amongst women in prison increased by 11% over 12 months to December 2023
  • The rate is almost nine times higher in women’s prisons than in men’s prisons.
  • Women in prison who have self-harmed are doing so more frequently
  • More women in prison are self-harming that has previously been recorded, with a 10% increase to December 2023
  • Young women 18-20 are self-harming the most

Sonya Ruparel, CEO of Women in Prison, commented:
“We are deeply saddened by the statistics released today, showing that more women are self-harming more frequently in prison. These figures represent yet more evidence that prison is not a safe place for women. It’s especially concerning to see how many young women –including teenagers – are especially affected by this escalating mental health crisis behind prison doors.

As we see rates of self-harm go higher and higher, the Government needs to take this crisis seriously and take urgent action to stop it.

Women should not have to go through this.

When women are in the community, they can get the support they need to tackle the issues that draw them into crime in the first place, like domestic abuse and mental ill- health.

The Government needs to take decisive action to significantly decrease the incarceration of women by investing in health, housing, and social welfare services. This will enable women to receive the support they need within their communities and avoid being trapped in the dead end of the criminal justice system.”

Read the full quarterly Safety in Custody statistics from the Ministry of Justice here.

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