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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Suicidal inmate loses razors case
A prisoner on suicide watch has failed in a High Court bid for the right to be given razors to cut himself.

Jeffrey Watkins, an inmate at Rye Hill prison at Onley, Warwickshire, wanted to self-harm to relieve the stresses that could lead to him killing himself.

A judge ruled that the suggestion that he should be provided with the means to self-harm "flies in the face of what we regard as civilised standards".

Watkins made previous serious attempts to commit suicide, the court was told.

It is offensive to the individual, it is offensive to the (prison) staff and to the Prison Service and it flies in the face of what we regard as civilised standards
Mr Justice Newman

His counsel Flo Krause said Watkins, who is serving a life sentence, suffered from bipolar disorder, or manic depression, and had been a persistent self-harmer for many years.

Medical experts agreed that cutting himself "lifts his mood" by releasing endorphins into his system, thereby making suicide less likely.

Ms Krause said the Prison Service policy on self-harm and suicide was so "intrusive" that it was increasing stress and adding to the danger that Watkins would commit suicide.

She argued that he simply wanted sterile razor blades "to self-harm in a hygienic manner."

The judge rejected Watkins's bid for less supervision and to be left in the dark at night.

He said: "It is offensive to the individual, it is offensive to the (prison) staff and to the Prison Service and it flies in the face of what we regard as civilised standards".

Refusing Watkins permission to seek judicial review, the judge said his "stark and sad" case was "unarguable".




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