Prisons: Suicides Debate

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Department: Scotland Office
Wednesday 31st January 2024

(5 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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My Lords, we published the National Partnership Agreement for Health and Social Care for England on 23 February 2023, setting out a shared priority to deliver safe, decent and effective care, and improve health outcomes for people in prison and on probation. As part of the measures we have taken, new prison officers are trained in measures to assess and identify persons potentially at risk. The existing cohort of prison officers is receiving additional training, as understanding of the complex nature of this problem develops. There are increased facilities for sharing knowledge so that individual insights are passed between prison staff, the medical and psychological staff assisting them and the prisoners themselves, because we have measures to allow prisoners to mentor one another.

Viscount Hailsham Portrait Viscount Hailsham (Con)
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My Lords, would my noble friend agree that the number of suicides in prisons is likely to fall if we could reduce the number of people with mental health issues being sent to prison and, furthermore, if we could increase the amount of meaningful out-of-cell activity offered to prisoners?

Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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My Lords, I agree wholeheartedly with both points raised by the noble Viscount. The range of opportunities for activity outwith the prison estate, and within the estate by way of leisure and recreation, is an important matter that the Government are looking at.