HC Deb 11 July 1922 vol 156 cc1040-1

asked the Home Secretary (1) whether, as stated in English prisons to-day, that, despite the precautions taken against suicide the suicide rate is three times as high among prisoners as among the ordinary population: if so, whether he is prepared to call for Reports from the prison medical officers on the subject;

(2) whether his attention has been called to the statement in the Report of the Prison System Inquiry Committee that the ratio of insanity among prisoners, after deducting the cases where prisoners are regarded as mentally unsound on reception, is nearly five times higher than among the ordinary; population; and whether he is prepared to call for Reports on this matter from the medical officers of prisons?


I have seen the statements referred to, but they are entirely misleading. There is no doubt that among persons received into prisons there is an abnormally high proportion of persons prone to insanity and suicide, and before any comparison is made between the prison and the ordinary population, this factor and many others must be taken into account. For example, the ratio among the prison population, which consists of persons over 16 years of age, cannot properly be compared for these purposes with the ratio among the ordinary population of all ages.