National statistics have shown that there has been a significant increase in violence in prisons in England and Wales with statistics for in-prison suicide reaching the highest they have been since 2005.
In the past 12 months:
- Serious assault has increased dramatically by 30%, from 1277 to 1661,
- Assaults on staff has risen by 15%, from 2787 to 3201,
- There has been a rise in the amount of suicides by 69%; and
- There have been 3 homicides behind bars, compared to just 2 the year before.
A rise in violence within prisons also means that more prisoners are able to make personal injury claims or a claim against the prison service for not sufficiently protecting them. In the most severe circumstances of violence that leads to death, families will have to come to terms with the death of their loved one in prison. This brings rise to claims for family members on behalf of the deceased against the prison system for not sufficiently protecting them and preventing their death.
One possible reason that the rate of violence is increasing could be due to the overcrowded conditions which prisoners are forced to live in. With a population of more than 85,000 in our prisons, crowded conditions are an increasing issue. Along with budget cuts of 24% over 3 years, prison governors have warned that they are struggling to cope.
On top of the overcrowded conditions and violence there has been an increase of a quarter in all prisons in England and Wales which have been given poor performance ratings. Conditions inside 28 jails have been rated as being of official concern according to the performance table, with one being rated as serious concern.
Here at Farleys we have a team specialising in claims against the Prison Service. We are experienced in bringing claims on behalf of families who have lost a loved one as a result of negligence. Such claims often arise as a result of breaches of the Human Rights Act, where a prison may have failed to recognise a real and immediate risk to life.
We are able to advise you on any potential claim you may have and also represent you throughout the inquest proceedings, which such circumstances will give rise.
For any advice on this complex area of law, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team.