Page last updated at 23:14 GMT, Monday, 25 May 2009 00:14 UK

Women's jail worst for self-harm

View of a woman prisoner in her jail cell through the cell door window
Cornton Vale is Scotland's only women's prison

Self-harm in Scotland's only female prison has risen dramatically in the past four years, figures from the Liberal Democrats show.

Last year, 64 prisoners at Cornton Vale self-harmed, a figure which includes attempted or planned cases.

The total is the highest of all of Scotland's prisons, and is up from seven in 2004.

Kilmarnock Prison, which is twice the size of Cornton Vale, had the second highest figure with 38.

Lib Dem justice spokesman Robert Brown said the number of young offenders harming themselves - 21 of the 64 cases last year - was "particularly worrying".

Mental health

Information about the extent of mental health problems within prisons needed to be better recorded, Mr Brown said.

"We know that self harming is closely linked to mental health problems and we know that that many of the inmates in Cornton Vale struggle with addictions and mental health problems," he said.

"The true scale of the problem is unknown because mental health problems are not officially recorded. This needs to change."

Mr Brown said he was meeting the new governor to see the scale of the problems at Cornton Vale.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said: "Following years of unreliable data SPS set out clearer definitions to be used to report the issue of self-harm in the prison population. As a result reports of self harm are up primarily for this reason."

He added: "There are more women in prison and the population has increased significantly in the last few years. Many are vulnerable and as a result self-harming is an issue which SPS is increasingly required to consider along with other areas of care."



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Wing planned for female inmates
01 Oct 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Drink linked to female offenders
22 Apr 08 |  Scotland
Female prisoners moved from jail
22 Aug 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Women prisoner numbers 'shameful'
12 Feb 08 |  Tayside and Central
Report critical of women's prison
18 Jul 07 |  Tayside and Central

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific