Violence at Hindley prison has dropped, new figures reveal

Spending has increased to Hindley Prison
Spending has increased to Hindley Prison

Violence at Hindley Prison has fallen as more money is spent on inmates, official figures reveal.

But amid record levels of assault and self-harm in jails across England and Wales, MPs have published a scathing report warning that the prison system is in an “appalling state of crisis”.

Members of the Commons Justice Committee accused the Government of having no clear plan for “desperately needed change”.

At HMP Hindley, spending on each prisoner shot up to £45,857 in 2018-19, 18 per cent higher than in the previous year, new Ministry of Justice statistics show.

In total, £23.7m was ploughed into the men-only jail in Wigan over 2018-19, according to the data.

Meanwhile, separate figures published by the MoJ recorded 260 assaults at Hindley Prison in 2018 – 46 fewer than the previous year.

These included 49 attacks on staff.

There were also 349 self-harm incidents, up from 233 in 2017.

Deaths in custody also fell between 2017 and 2018, from two to one.

Hindley staff have taken industrial action in the past to complain about a shortage of staff there which, they said, heightened risks of attacks.

Across England and Wales, prison resources cost taxpayers £3.4bn in 2018-19 – an average of £41,136 per inmate.

The bill has risen by more than £220m over the last year with prices per inmate hiked by nearly 10 per cent – around £3,500.

At the same time, violence in the country’s jails has continued to climb.

Attacks on prison staff jumped 15 per cent in 2018-19, with 10,315 assaults recorded. The number of inmates self-harming also rose, by 24 per cent over the period, to 58,030. As of September, self-harm incidents per person reached a record 4.8. There were 317 deaths in custody in 2018-19, 87 of them self-inflicted.

Deborah Coles, executive director of the campaigning charity INQUEST, said the statistics showed an “endless cycle of systemic neglect and political indifference. Any incoming government must radically transform sentencing policy, reduce the prison population and redirect resources to community services.”

The MoJ said it would take time for improvements to be seen in prisons.

A spokesperson said: “We know that levels of violence and self-harm in prisons are unacceptably high, but we remain determined to make progress so that our jails reform offenders, reduce reoffending and keep the public safe.”