Winchester Prison cited in new report on record prison suicides

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Campaigners have warned that the number of suicides in prisons has reached ‘epidemic proportions’.

It comes as Winchester Prison was cited in a new report on the number of suicides in jail over the last 11 months.

More than 100 inmates have taken their own lives this year, according to the Howard League for Penal Reform.

The charity said it is the biggest death toll in a calendar year since records began in 1978.

It claimed the rise in suicides was down to cuts to prison staffing and budgets, along with overcrowding and increased violence in prisons.

There has been one death by suicide at Winchester Prison so far this year, and seven in total since the start of 2013.

HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes had the most suicides this year with six.

Howard League chief executive Frances Cook said: ‘The number of people dying by suicide in prison has reached epidemic proportions.

‘No one should be so desperate while in the care of the state that they take their own life and yet, every three days a family is told that a loved one has died behind bars.

‘Cutting staff and prison budgets while allowing the number of people behind bars to grow unchecked has created a toxic mix of violence, death and human misery.’

The report has called for the ‘incentives and privileges’ scheme in prisons to be scrapped, saying it had a ‘detrimental impact’ on imate wellbeing.

Last year six prisoners died at HMP Winchester in the space of three months.

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