Date of release: Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Poor treatment of prisoners is directly linked to self-harm and suicide, according to research from the University of Greenwich.

Jolliffe, Professor of criminology, found that preventative policies were based on staffing levels that no longer exist.

He says: "Those most at risk in prison are falling through the gaps. Trained and confident staff who are provided with the time to be true agents of support and rehabilitation are desperately needed.

"Prison officers rarely have the time to develop the relationships with those in prison needed to truly provide support to help prevent self-harm and self-inflicted deaths. Prison officer training on the complex area of mental health is essentially absent.

Greenwich researchers working with the Runnymede Trust, a race equality thinktank, also found black and Muslim offenders are more likely to be badly treated in prison.

They looked at the treatment of male black and minority ethnic (BAME) prisoners, surveying over 340 inmates across four prisons.

The study found that black or Muslim prisoners were twice as likely (40%) of being mistreated, such as having restraints used against them and being put into segregation in past six months – compared with white prisoners (21%).

The university recently hosted a conference with Runnymede which looked at ways of reducing deaths in prison, and a reduction in force on ethnic minority prisoners.

The recent government report which said ethnic minorities are more likely than their white counterparts to be both suspected of and victims of crime was the backdrop for the event.

As well as Professor Jolliffe, speakers included: Steve Reed, the MP Croydon North, who is introducing a law to end excessive use of force on mental health patients; Frances Crook, from the Howard League for Penal Reform; Professor Nicholas Hardwick, former Chief Inspector of HMP; Patrick Vernon, from Black Thrive, a partnership for black wellbeing; Steve Gillan, General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association; Helen Arnold, of the University of Suffolk; Dr Zubaida Haque, a research associate at the Runnymede Trust; Deborah Coles, from INQUEST, Keiran Manners, from HM Prisons; and Professor David Maguire, Vice-Chancellor of Greenwich.

For more on criminology, part of the Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities at the University of Greenwich:

Picture: Darrick Jolliffe
Story by Public Relations.