‘Do more to stop sui­cides in Scots jails’

Call: Lib­eral Democrats say pris­ons must look for signs af­ter 28 deaths

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY LYNSEY BEWS

The prison ser­vice has been urged to do more to de­tect ear­ly­warn­ingsigns ofmen­tal ill health among pris­on­ers af­ter it was re­vealed there have been 28 ap­par­ent sui­cides in Scot­land’s jails over the past three years.

Of­fi­cial Scot­tish Prison Ser­vice (SPS) fig­ures col­lat­ed­bythe Scot­tish Lib­eral Democrats showed there were 13 ap­par­ent sui­cides in 2010-11, eight in 2011-12, and seven in 2012-13.

All but one of th­ese were male pris­on­ers, and only two of the to­tal of 28 were placed on the SPS’s sui­cide preven­tion strat­egy, ACT 2 care.

Be­fore a death in cus­tody can be for­mally recorded as sui­cide, a Fatal Ac­ci­dent In- quiry (FAI) must be held, in ac­cor­dance with the Fatal Ac­ci­dents and Sud­den Deaths In­quiry (Scot­land) Act 1976 to legally de­ter­mine the cause of death.

Of the 28 ap­par­ent sui­cides, eight have been de­ter­mined by FAIs.

Fig­ures also showed there had been 61 at­tempted sui­cide in­ci­dents over the same three-year pe­riod.

Lib­eral Demo­crat jus­tice spokes­woman Ali­son McInnes said: “Ev­ery sui­cide in prison is one too many.

“Th­ese peo­ple are pay­ing penance for their crimes but they are still some­one’s brother, un­cle, daugh­ter or son.

“The Scot­tish Prison Ser­vice must en­sure that staff are able to iden­tify the early warn­ing signs.

“I am par­tic­u­larly wor­ried that of the 28 ap­par­ent sui­cides, only twopris­on­ers were on the pris­ons sui­cide preven­tion pro­gramme.

“Our prison staff are highly trained but their de­mand­ingjob is madeall the more dif­fi­cult by over­crowd­ing in Scot­land’s pris­ons.”

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesper­son said: “SPS staff are trained to iden­tify those at risk of sui­cide and prison staff con­tinue to work with the health ser­vice to en­sure that vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple are given the help they need.”

An SPS spokes­woman said: “The SPS in­vests ex­ten­sively in train­ing our staff in risk man­age­ment and ACT 2 Care.

“We treat sui­cide very se­ri­ously.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.