It is reported very wiely that the numbers of suicies in prisons is spiralling ever upward.
During one of my last periods in prison I trained, and worked for a good period of time as a Listener. Listeners were prisoners selected and trained to counsel other prisoners, especially those at risk of self harm or suicide. I was very successful in that capacity a fact I state not for any form of praise but to demonstrate my credentials for making this post.
Obviously each case is the case of an individual and this is the first problem. Prisoners have never been treated as individuals, the system isn’t geared up tp do so and as the prison population continues to grow the problems is likely to grow proportionally. The number of attempted and successful suicides will continue to grow relentlessly.
Sadly the shortsightedness of the Ministry of Justice and Chris Grayling is also playing a very positive part in this increase.
Suicides are almost invariably brought on by the offender’s eeling of isolation made worse by long perds of inactivity. As a direct result of the cuts in staffing levels brought about by the economic downturd there are not enough staff in prisons to allow a normal regime with workshops beings closed, educational facilities being trimmed to the bone and association periods being almost non existent.
Then, as a final nail in the coffin Grayling bans books in prison so instea of losing themselves in a book a vulnerable prisoner has nohing at all to occupy their mind. This leaves a total void where the empty mind is attacked by desperate thoughts which instead of being addressed simply fester to breaking point and when that is reached where can the prisoner seek help?

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