Rise in serious assaults and self-harm at Aylesbury youth prison

An image from the ITV programme on the prison, which aired in 2013
An image from the ITV programme on the prison, which aired in 2013

Serious assaults and incidents of self-harm at Aylesbury’s young offenders’ prison have risen significantly in a year, an independent report has revealed.

The number of assaults where hospital treatment was needed nearly doubled, with 29 incidents between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, compared to 15 the previous year.

There were also 230 recorded incidents of self-harm among prisoners, compared to 159 in 2011/12, the report by the Independent Monitoring Board revealed.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said the number of violent incidents has fallen overall during the past three years and that many of the self-harmers had hurt themselves more than once in the year.

The number of violent incidents rose in 2012/13, with an average of 18 alarms each month, mainly prisoner on prisoner, compared with around 12 per month the previous year.

There were also 245 incidents of the use of force by staff compared with 224 in the previous year.

However, the number of prisoners accused of bullying other inmates was down by 60% compared with two years ago, according to the report.

The board also noted that staff at the prison work hard to provide a safe and caring environment.

The report said: “We remain satisfied with the overall standard of the prison’s management, its treatment of prisoners and the facilities.”

The prison service spokeswoman said: “As the IMB report acknowledges, Aylesbury is a well-run prison and the governor and his staff work hard to provide a safe and supportive environment for the vulnerable young people held there.

“Staff continue to work closely with health professionals to support the prison’s small number of repeat self-harmers.

“This report will be considered fully by ministers, who will respond in due course.”