HC Deb 03 March 2000 vol 345 c442W
Mr. Cox

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what surveys he undertook in 1999 in prisons in England and Wales to check the efficacy of the suicide awareness programmes. [111978]

Mr. Boateng

The Prison Service has developed a set of auditable key performance baselines for policies and practices in prison establishments, including the suicide awareness strategy. The standards audit unit of the Prison Service visit establishments to conduct these audits.

In 1999, a total of 71 establishments were audited on the suicide awareness baseline. Of these, 13 achieved a rating of good; 27 acceptable; 24 deficient; and seven unacceptable.

The Director-General is personally committed to ensuring that the suicide awareness strategy works, as are the Director of Security, who has policy responsibility for suicide awareness, and the area managers responsible for establishments. All regularly visit establishments. Members of the suicide awareness support unit at Prison Service headquarters also visit establishments to provide support to those operating the strategy.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons also inspects prisons on a regular and unannounced basis during which he will look at the operation of the suicide awareness strategy. In addition to any recommendations that may arise from a visit to an individual prison, the Chief Inspector published a thematic review into the suicide awareness strategy in 1999. This contained a number of recommendations as to how the strategy could be improved; these recommendations are currently being acted upon.