Assaults at local jail rise 86% in five years

HMP Full Sutton assaults have risen according to Ministry of Justice figures.
HMP Full Sutton assaults have risen according to Ministry of Justice figures.

Assaults at HMP Full Sutton have increased by 86% in five years, with prison reform campaigners declaring the situation part of a larger ‘national emergency’.

The rise in attacks on staff and prisoners, revealed in figures from the Ministry of Justice, shows the scale of the task prison officers are facing.

Of the 67 assaults recorded in 2017, 26 were on prison staff. And seven assaults were defined as serious, a category which includes sexual assaults and those where victims required hospital in- patient treatment.

In 2012, 36 assaults were recorded, meaning a five-year increase of 86%.

The numbers also reveal that 248 cases of self-harm were recorded in Full Sutton last year, compared to just 116 in 2012.

Across prisons in England and Wales, nearly 30,000 assaults were recorded last year, more than double the number in 2012.

Self-harm also increased by 92% over the same five-year period, with nearly 45,000 cases in 2017.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This shameful rise in violence and self-injury is the direct result of policy decisions to allow the number of people behind bars to grow unchecked while starving prisons of resources.

“This is a national emergency, and the government must respond boldly and urgently. Positive steps to reduce the prison population would save lives, protect staff, and prevent more people being swept into deeper currents of crime and despair.”

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “The levels of violence, suicide and self-harm in our prisons are far too high and we are taking urgent action to address these problems.

“Assaults on our hardworking staff will never be tolerated. We are ensuring prison officers have the tools they need to do the job, rolling out body worn cameras, ‘police-style’ handcuffs and restraints, and trialling PAVA incapacitant spray.

“Our recruitment drive is vital to ensuring prisons are safe, secure and decent so they can successfully rehabilitate offenders.”

Meanwhile, assaults in Humber Prison have doubled in five years, according to the Ministry of Justice statistics.

Of the 308 assaults recorded in 2017, 50 were on prison staff. And 36 assaults were defined as serious, a category which includes sexual assaults and those where victims required hospital in- patient treatment.

In 2012, 110 assaults were recorded, meaning a five-year increase of 180%.

Prior to April 2014, Humber consisted of two separate prisons, Everthorpe and Wolds.

The numbers also reveal that 582 cases of self-harm were recorded in Humber last year, compared to just 96 in 2012.