THERE are around 25 attacks on prison staff every day as record levels of violence sweep through jails.
Official figures show assault and self-harm incidents behind bars have increased again to hit new highs in England and Wales.
Assaults on staff rose to 9,485 in a year to June, an increase of 27 per cent, a Ministry of Justice report showed. Of those, 947 were ‘serious’ — requiring medical treatment or resulting in fractures, burns, or extensive bruising.
Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: ‘Despite the unrelenting effort of many in the system, all of these indicators show there is no end in sight to the catastrophe that has engulfed many of our prisons.’
The number of assaults on staff in the three months to June increased by four per cent to a record 2,515 — although a change in how they are recorded may have contributed to the rise.
Elsewhere, the Safety In Custody bulletin revealed that total assaults jumped by 20 per cent to 32,559 in the 12 months to June, and in the same period there were 49,565 incidents of self-harm, up 20 per cent from the previous year.
There were 325 deaths in custody in the year to September — up eight per cent. They included five homicides, up from three, and 87 self-inflicted deaths, up from 78.
Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke has demanded urgent action at four establishments in less than a year.
Justice secretary David Gauke said he was ‘determined to bring down the unacceptable levels of violence’, adding that the government has recruited 3,500 prison officers in the last two years.