Self harm cases in women’s prisons reaches record high

Sad woman in hoodiesource: PrisonPhone
published: 23 April 2021

With the effects of COVID-19 it has caused many prisoners to be separated from their families and loved ones even more so than before.

Having more than a year apart from seeing their families on a face to face basis has caused a serious impact on some inmates, seeing a record high in self harming cases across some of the women’s prisons.

Self harm amongst female prisoners has increased rapidly.  A spokesman said “Many women haven’t seen their families in person for over a year, and are confined to their cells for up to 23 hours a day”. The crisis of the Coronavirus has created a number of incidents reaching a record high, new data shows.

The Coronavirus Crisis

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, The Ministry of Justice has shared the amount of self-harm incidents among inmates in women’s prisons across England and Wales has surged by eight per cent in less than a year, with over 12,440 cases recorded in the year to September alone.

Comparing these figures has seen a substantial increase from 11,482 in the 12 months before that, however, the amount of self-harm incidents among male prisoners has decreased by around seven per cent.

Women are more likely to self harm than men.

Self-harm incidents, which required the prisoner to go to hospital soared by 35 per cent to 331 in women’s prisons in the last year.

Maya Openheim wrote an open report when speaking with an ex prisoner on how the distress of being in Prison was affecting women before the crisis of the Coronavirus. “I saw lots of women self-harming. It was an absence of attention for many of them and feeling like not having someone to recognise they were alive.” a former prisoner told her in her report.

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