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Wetherby children’s prison is one of the most violent in England and Wales

fenceNine assaults were recorded every week at Wetherby children’s prison last year, figures seen by the Howard League for Penal Reform  (25 April 2013).

Ministry of Justice statistics show there were 484 assaults during 2012. Only two other prisons in England and Wales recorded more.

The total number for England and Wales was 14,511, down 4 per cent on the figure for 2011. Prisons recorded 2,987 assaults on staff last year, of which 260 were classed as serious.

The number of self-harm incidents recorded in prisons has also fallen slightly – from 24,648 in 2011 to 23,158 in 2012

There were 113 recorded sexual assaults in prisons across England and Wales during 2012.

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:

The shockingly high levels of violence at Wetherby are a sad consequence of taking teenage boys away from their families and cooping them up in institutions designed to dish out punishments rather than help them through their problems.

In such a violent and purposeless environment, it should come as little surprise that more than seven in ten children commit another offence within a year of release.

A troubled child who commits a crime needs love and support, not locking up. If we fail to turn the lives of these children around early, they are likely to go on to commit countless crimes, costing the taxpayer millions and creating ever more victims.

Wetherby prison does have some of the lowest rates of death in custody statistics. Since 1978, there have been 6 recorded deaths, either natural causes or self inflicted.  That is from a national total of 4,162. Brixton prison had 143 deaths during the same period.

The five most violent prisons in 2012

Feltham – 689 assaults

Ashfield – 587 assaults

Wetherby – 484 assaults

Doncaster – 393 assaults

Glen Parva – 392 assaults


Worst five prisons for self-harm in 2012

Peterborough – 1,256 incidents

Foston Hall – 874 incidents

Altcourse – 863 incidents

Bronzefield – 770 incidents

Eastwood Park – 756 incidents

The Ministry of Justice statistics can be viewed online here:




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