Jail suicide toll hits 84 as two die in Brixton

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The Independent Online
THE DEATH by hanging of two remand prisoners at Brixton prison, south London, yesterday brought the annual suicide toll in prisons to 84.

Fulton O'Shea, 30, and Ertan Uzun, 25, were discovered hanging in their shared cell.

The rate of prison suicides is at a record high with an inmate taking their life every four days, the head of the Prison Service admitted last night. With the Service facing the traumatic Christmas period, when self-harm by prisoners usually increases, the annual figure is already in excess of the previous record of 82 last year.

The increase cannot be explained by changes in the prison population - the new figure represents an increase in suicides from 125 per 100,000 inmates last year to 134 per 100,000 inmates so far this year.

Nick Flynn, of the Prison Reform Trust, called on the Prison Service to work more closely with voluntary organisations such as The Samaritans and to employ more psychologists and psychiatrists.

The figures are particularly depressing for the Prison Service Director General Martin Narey who pledged to put the issue of jail suicides at the top of his agenda when he took up the senior post last year. Last night Mr Narey promised a renewed effort to reduce the number of deaths.