Self-harm remains very high and has increased over the pandemic with a 64% increase in self-harm incidents over the previous year says the independent monitoring board at HMP Send in its 2021-22 annual report.
The IMB notes that:
- A high proportion of self-harm incidents were by a few prolific self-harmers. These few women (between one and five during the past year) with highly complex needs contribute disproportionately to the monthly data in a relatively small prison population.
- The Board believes that provision should be made in appropriate secure specialist mental health facilities for the small number of very challenging women with highly complex mental health needs. These are often a result of traumatic lives and manifest as prolific self-harm. However:
- The Board commends the high level of support given to these women by staff, whose consistent approach delivered with compassion resulted in lowering individual levels of self-harm.
- HMP Send is able to offer prisoners a number of therapeutic programmes to help them deal with trauma.
IMB Chair, Sam Coop, said ‘We commend the staff at HMP Send for the work they have done to support women with mental health issues but believe that prison is a totally inadequate ‘revolving door’ for individuals with highly complex needs. More appropriate specialist care is needed urgently’.