The number of deaths in prison custody increased to 243 in 2014 from 215 in 2013. The death rate increased to 2.9 deaths per 1,000 prisoners compared with 2.6 the previous year. This increase is as a result of an increase in both natural cause and self-inflicted deaths.
Self-inflicted deaths increased to 84 in 2014 from 75 in 2013; the second calendar year there has been a year-on-year increase. On a rolling 12 month basis self-inflicted deaths have been higher in each quarter than in the same quarter in any year since 2007. Quarterly figures remain volatile with the most recent quarter (October to December) experiencing a higher than usual number of self-inflicted deaths. The rate of self-inflicted deaths was 1.0 deaths per 1,000 prisoners up from 0.9 deaths per 1,000 a year earlier.
The number of self-harm incidents has increased to 24,748 incidents in the 12 months to end of September 2014, compared with 23,240 in the previous 12 month period. Self-harm in the male estate continues to increase with 18,068 incidents in the 12 months to September 2014, an increase of 847 incidents on the same period a year earlier. Self-harm in the female estate has also increased, ending 3 years of year-on-year falls.
The number of incidents of recorded assaults (including fights) in prison custody has increased to 15,763 in the 12 months to the end of September 2014 compared with 14,207 in the 12 months to September 2013. This increase may be slightly overstated due to improvements in reporting of assault incidents.
The number of assaults on staff has increased to 3,470 incidents in the 12 months to end of September 2014 from 3,178 in the 12 months to end of September 2013, the highest number since 2006. The number of serious assaults on staff has increased to 431 incidents from 328 in the previous year.