Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 20th December 2018
Imran Hussain Labour, Bradford East
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners died within 48 hours of release in (a) 2010, (b) 2017 and (c) 2018.
Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice
The numbers of prisoners who were reported to have died within two days of release are given in the table below.
We have supplied figures for financial years because that is the basis on which deaths of offenders under supervision in the community are reported centrally to Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service.
The person submitting a report may not know the exact time of release and/or of death, so it is impossible to say whether an offender’s death was within exactly 48 hours of release. Instead, the table lists deaths believed to have occurred on the day of release or either of the two days following that. In addition, the release date was omitted from some reports of deaths of offenders under supervision, and in those cases we are unable to estimate the time since release.
HMPPS collects data only about the deaths of offenders who are under probation supervision in the community. Because of this, our data excludes the following groups of released prisoners:
offenders who were not supervised on release. This applies only to 2010/11, which was before the Offender Rehabilitation Act extended post-release supervision to all offenders;
remand prisoners released on bail, or after being acquitted, or after being convicted but receiving a non-custodial sentence;
immigration detainees; and
any civil prisoners, such as those imprisoned for contempt of court.
The NPS and CRCs work closely with other agencies to support offenders in the community. When an offender being supervised by Probation dies, the Probation provider must examine the circumstances of the death and identify areas to improve practice.
While we work extremely closely with each offender before and after release to help them find the support they need, we do not have sole responsibility for caring for them. We are clear, however, that they should receive the same level of care as other members of the public.
We are considering whether this reporting requirement could be strengthened, particularly to improve the sharing of learning nationally.