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Wetherby Prison is the Third Most Violent in the Country


8:26am 26th April 2013

Wetherby Prison is the third most violent in the country. The institution, whose inmates are teenage boys and young men saw almost 500 assaults last year.

Nine assaults were recorded every week at Wetherby children’s prison last year, figures seen by the Howard League for Penal Reform reveal.

Ministry of Justice statistics show there were 484 assaults during 2012. Only two other prisons in England and Wales recorded more, say the Howard League.

They add that the total number for England and Wales was 14,511, down 4 per cent on the figure for 2011. Prisons recorded 2,987 assaults on staff last year, of which 260 were classed as serious.

The number of self-harm incidents recorded in prisons has also fallen slightly – from 24,648 in 2011 to 23,158 in 2012, say the Howard League.

There were 113 recorded sexual assaults in prisons across England and Wales during 2012, they add.

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The shockingly high levels of violence at Wetherby are a sad consequence of taking teenage boys away from their families and cooping them up in institutions designed to dish out punishments rather than help them through their problems.

“In such a violent and purposeless environment, it should come as little surprise that more than seven in ten children commit another offence within a year of release.

“A troubled child who commits a crime needs love and support, not locking up. If we fail to turn the lives of these children around early, they are likely to go on to commit countless crimes, costing the taxpayer millions and creating ever more victims.”

A Prison Service Spokesperson said: "We have a zero tolerance approach to violence in all our prisons. We have systems in place to deal with perpetrators quickly and robustly, with serious incidents referred to the police for prosecution.

"We are committed to open and transparent reporting of data relating to deaths in custody, self-harm and assaults. It remains a priority to reduce the number of deaths and violence in custody. Prisons take the responsibility of keeping prisoners, staff and visitors safe extremely seriously.

"Strenuous efforts are made to learn from each death and improve our understanding and procedures for caring for prisoners."

The five most violent prisons in 2012

  1. Feltham – 689 assaults
  2. Ashfield – 587 assaults
  3. Wetherby – 484 assaults
  4. Doncaster – 393 assaults
  5. Glen Parva – 392 assaults

Worst five prisons for self-harm in 2012

  1. Peterborough – 1,256 incidents
  2. Foston Hall – 874 incidents
  3. Altcourse – 863 incidents
  4. Bronzefield – 770 incidents
  5. Eastwood Park – 756 incidents
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