Assaults and self-harm incidents rise at Humber prison after drop in staff numbers

The number of assaults increased from 308 in 2017 to 491 in 2018 at Humber prison.
The number of assaults increased from 308 in 2017 to 491 in 2018 at Humber prison.

Incidents of assault and self harm at Humber prison have risen in recent years, amid warnings that England and Wales’ prisons have been asked “to do too much with too little for too long”.

Prison reform charity the Howard League has called for a reduction in the number of prisons in order to ease immense pressure on the system, following years of declines in the prison workforce.

At Humber, staff numbers have fallen in recent years while violent incidents have risen, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice and the HM Prison and Probation Service.

In June, 444 staff members were employed at the prison, down from 458 a year ago.

Of these, 271 were prison officers, compared to 285 last year.

At the same time, the number of assaults increased from 308 in 2017 to 491 in 2018, while self-harm incidents increased from 582 to 792.

In the first three months of 2019 alone, there were 106 assaults and 217 self-harm incidents reported at the prison.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The rising levels of violence and self-injury behind bars are symptoms of the immense strain on a prison system that has been asked to do too much with too little for too long.”

A spokeswoman for the Prison Service said: “We are working hard to reduce levels of self-harm – giving each prisoner support from a dedicated officer, providing mental health training to more than 24,000 staff, and giving the Samaritans £1.5 million to support those most at risk.”