Charlie Gilmour, writing in The Independent, claims that Chris Grayling is in denial over the prison crisis. He said the minister urgently needs to explain the rapid decline in safety in custody which everyone from the third sector to the Chief Inspector of Prisons deem to be at crisis point. Instead, he accuses Grayling of dodging media appearances where he might be held to account for the consequences of his policies.
'The tragic irony of the situation is that our prison system is infinitely more violent than the majority of people who end up inside it. Unlike Grayling, most prisoners are a hazard only to themselves. ... As Lord Harris observes, prison is massively over-used. The mental health problems and drug addictions that afflict so many inmates would be better dealt with by social services, with prison itself saved for the most serious cases.'
Alex Cavendish on Prison UK blog says that while suicides are often seen as a 'barometer of the escalating crisis within our jails', serious attention should also be given to the growing use of self harm.
'Self-harm is becoming one of the marks of the powerless to gain the attention of those in positions of authority. At the very least, a self-harmer gets a face-to-face interview with a safer custody officer, usually a wing manager. Crude, but seemingly effective.'