Prison Suicide Rates At Alarming Figure

March 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm (Cardiff news) (, , , , , )

A LEADING charity has said suicide rates in prison are already at an alarming figure for 2009, just days after a Cardiff man was found hanging in his prison cell.
The Prison Reform Trust said suicide rates in prisons in England and Wales in 2009, which have already reached 11, are expected to rise and the current figures were “very worrying”.
These statistics come three days after Gareth Thomas, 28, of Gwent, was found hanging in his cell at Cardiff Prison. Thomas was due for release as early as next week after being sentenced to two months, 18 days in prison for theft and non-payment of fines.
A spokesman for South Wales Police said: “South Wales Police was called to a report of a sudden death of a 28-year-old man at Her Majesty’s Prison, Cardiff, on Tuesday, 10 March 2009. An investigation is being carried out on behalf of the coroner.”
Last year David Cushing, 35, from Ystrad Mynach, who was on remand after being accused of murdering his baby son was found hanged in his prison cell at Parc Prison, Bridgend on August 16.
South Wales Police said: “We have been at the forefront of influencing the debate as to how such complex needs of health related drug and alcohol dependencies and mental health needs are met.
“The challenge is to ensure wider community and partnership engagement so one of societies most vulnerable groups can be addressed as a health need within the health system and not one of being detained within police cells.”
A spokesperson for the Prison Reform Charity said: “Prison suicides are a problem and we need to figure out ways to reduce them. More needs to be done, especially for those in the first few days of custody when people arrive in prison and are at their most vulnerable.”
“There is not one factor behind these deaths, but people clearly need to recognise overcrowding in the prisons. The prison system as a whole is overcrowded. Whether the figures will go down for this year is difficult to tell but what we know already is very worrying.”

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