Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Further memorandum submitted by the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales

  1.  Following the evidence session in December 2002, the Youth Justice Board agreed to provide the Committee with statistics relating to self inflicted deaths and incidents of self harm in the juvenile secure estate. Information is provided below.


  2.  There have been 13 self inflicted deaths of juveniles in Young Offender Institutions since 1998. Information relating to the self inflicted deaths are set out in the following table by the establishment in which the death occurred, and where available, the coroner's verdict, as requested by the Committee. There have been no self inflicted deaths in Secure Training Centres since the first centre opened in April 1998. In 1998 there was a self inflicted death in a Local Authority Secure Unit. This occurred in Hillside Secure Unit in Wales. A Committee of enquiry following the incident led to recommendations about both practice issues and room design being adopted across the secure estate.


  3.  The annual number of recorded incidents of self harm among juveniles in Prison Service accommodation as recorded by the Prison Service since 1998 are set out below. Statistics on recorded incidents of self harm in each Prison Service juvenile unit since April 2000 are set out in the second attached table.

Recorded incidents of self-harm among juveniles 1998 to 2002

252 incidents

205 incidents

288 incidents

402 incidents

463 incidents*
*January to November 2002

  4.  The total number of incidents of self harm recorded in each Secure Training Centre since each centre opened is set out below. Information on the number of incidents in each centre in each month since April 2001 is set out in the third attached table.

Total number of self-harm incidents in Secure Training Centre

Medway STC (opened April
126 incidents

Hassockfield STC (opened
September 1999)
72 incidents

Rainsbrook STC (opened
July 1999)
96 incidents

  5.  Self harm statistics have not been routinely collected for all Local Authority Secure Units. The Youth Justice Board is currently in discussions with the local units and with the Social Services Inspectorate about improving mechanisms for data collection and monitoring. Self-harm report data from a small selection of the LASUs (five out of 24) for the period from April 2001 to November 2002 reported that three incidents had occurred.

  6.  Information on self harm is an important factor in monitoring the juvenile secure estate, however there are limitations to the conclusions that can be drawn from variations between different establishments under current recording methods. The Board is aware that there are significant difficulties in making direct comparisons between different establishments and type of establishments in relation to this data. The Board is concerned that there are variations in recording practices between different institutions. Recording incidents in practice is reliant on individual assessment and the approach taken in the particular establishment.

  7.  Recent research has demonstrated that the current method for collecting data on self harm in prison service establishments, using the Incident Reporting System, under-reports the actual extent of self harm occurring in those establishments. A new process for recording self harm has been developed by the Prison Service and evaluation of pilot data has shown this method considerably improves the reliability of the data. The new method of recording data was rolled out on 1 December 2002. An exercise is currently underway with the aim of ensuring there are common methods of recording self harm incidents across the three Secure Training Centres. In addition, the Youth Justice Board will be working with the Social Services Inspectorate to ensure that common definitions and methods of recording incidents are agreed with all Secure Children's Homes.

  8.  Levels of self harm will vary depending on the type and size of establishment and the nature of the young people held. Information in relation to Secure Training Centres should take into account that it is the policy of the Board to seek to place young people assessed as vulnerable in the centres rather than Prison Service establishments. The likelihood of self harm is one factor used in assessing vulnerability.

  9.  In the light of the recent Joint Inspectorates Report, "Safeguarding Children" and the judgement by Mr Justice Munby on the Howard League application regarding the applicability of the Children Act 1989 to children in YOIs, the Board is undertaking joint work with the Department of Health, the Prison Service and Association of Directors of Social Services on strengthening children's safeguarding arrangements in YOIs, including arrangements for addressing self harm and suicide.

Self-Inflicted Deaths among Juveniles (under 18 years) by Establishment and Verdict, 1998 to 2002
1998 SuicideAccidental 1999 SuicideKilled self whilst mind unbalanced 2000 SuicideMisadventure 2001 AccidentalPending2002
Total 1998- 2002
Brinsford 1 12
Doncaster1 1
Feltham 1 12


1 1
Hindley1 1 2
Parc 11
Stoke Heath 11
Wetherby 11 13
Total21 1121 122 13

Incidents of Self Harm April 2000 to November 2002
2000a2001 2002bTotal
Ashfield82108 151341
Brinsford38 2637
Castington3254 59145
Feltham412 1430
Hindley1 1415
Huntercombe54 413
Lancaster Farms57 517
Onley120 6687
Parc11 314
Stoke Heath1113 24
Warren Hill110 415
Werrington11 13
Wetherby619 530
Total selected162257 352771
All other juvenile incidents92 145111348
Total all254402 463119
a From 1st April only.

b Up to 30th November only.

Number of Self Harm Incidents in Secure Training Centres April 2001 to December 2002

Apr.May JuneJuly Aug.Sep.Oct. Nov.Dec. Jan.Feb.Mar. Apr.May JuneJulyAug. Sep.Oct. Nov.Dec.
Medway56 327 5302 310 3223 313 811
Hassockfield00 0210 1211 101 1220 214 13
Rainsbrook00 010 4003 121 8033 334 25
Average22 126 3202 211 4122 324 46
Total56 351710 516 53212 476 851111 19
January 2003

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