Too many inmates are dying at city’s Woodhill Prison

DEATH HOTSPOT: The city's multi million pound Woodhill Prison
DEATH HOTSPOT: The city's multi million pound Woodhill Prison

One in seven self inflicted deaths of prisoners nationally happens at the city’s Woodhill jail, the Citizen can reveal.

New figures published by the Ministry of Justice show 25 inmates have killed themselves in MK since 1997.

Last year showed a record four deaths – more than four times higher than average for a prison with a population of just over 812.

Nationally there were 181 self-inflected deaths throughout 185 prisons.

Woodhill also shows a disturbing increase in prisoners deliberately self-harming.Last year there were 441 incidents at the Category A jail, a five fold increase since 2004.

This brings the total over ten years up to 1,961.

Belmarsh and Wakefield prisons, both a similar size to Woodhill, recorded 850 and 1,107 self harm episodes respectively over the decade.

Assaults on staff at Woodhill were also high, with 67 taking place last year.

There were also 143 cases of prisoners assaulting other prisoners, compared to just 21 at Wakefield.

Woodhill’s safety record was slammed last year after a visit and report by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons.

The report flagged up the soaring number of self harm cases and stated that 40 percent of all inmates said they felt “victimised” by the staff.

The inspector said: “It would be true to say that our assessments of Woodhill at recent inspections describe a prison that is just adequate or satisfactory.”

He added: “There has been some improvement in the prison’s core approach to safety but outcomes were still not good enough, particularly for a core local prison.”

Opened in 1992, Woodhill houses remand and sentenced males, including some of the UK’s most disruptive prisoners.

A new governor is now working on safety improvement plans for the future.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick has slammed the rise in prison suicides as “not acceptable in a civilised country.”

Mr Hardwick blames overcrowding and staff shortages for the rise in prisoners killing themselves in England’s jails.

He said some inmates were locked in their cells for 23 hours a day at times and crowded in “degrading” conditions.

“It’s not a good thing...It’s horrible,” he said.