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UK National News

22/02/2012

Manchester Prison Criticised Over Attitude To Suicides

A Manchester prison has received criticism over its ‘fatalistic’ attitude to prisoner suicides. With seven self-inflicted deaths in the last two years, two since the beginning of 2012, HM Inspectorate of Prisons found that prison staff considered the deaths as "the way things were in Manchester".

In January Martin Smith, a convicted paedophile rapist, was found dead in his cell, with Barry Morrow, on remand for the murders of his landlady and her mother, found hanging in his cell on February 9. While incidents of self-harm had decreased significantly, from 22 a month in 2009 to 10 a month in 2011, Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, said the prison had not ensured that lessons were learned, “There was room for improvement with arrangements for caring for prisoners at risk of self-harm or suicide…”

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He also added that while 20 years ago the prison had a notorious reputation, “"It is now completely transformed and in many ways provides a model to which other local prisons should aspire."

Chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, Michael Spurr, said while the number of suicides was not disproportionate to comparable institutions there is no complacency. He went on to add that he was pleased the prison was performing ‘reasonably’ well in the areas of safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement.

An inquest into the death of Martin Smith will take place but police said it was not being treated as suspicious.

(H)

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"A Manchester prison has received criticism over its ‘fatalistic’ attitude to prisoner suicides."