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The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) has published a Learning Lessons Bulletin on the self-inflicted deaths of IPP prisoners.

Prompted by the worrying increase in self-inflicted deaths of prisoners serving IPP sentences in 2022, the bulletin provides insight and learning for HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to ensure the risk factors associated with IPP sentences are identified and acted upon.

Ombudsman Adrian Usher said: “HMPPS must ensure these high levels of self-inflicted deaths do not continue”.

In 2022, there were nine self-inflicted deaths of IPP prisoners – the highest number of self-inflicted deaths among the IPP prison population since the sentence was introduced. As of December 2022, there have been 78 self-inflicted deaths of IPP prisoners since the sentence was introduced in April 2005. This is 6% of all self-inflicted deaths during this period.

The bulletin highlights findings from 19 PPO investigations into self-inflicted deaths of IPP prisoners between 2019 and 2023.

Key findings include:

ACCT management – Of the 19 self-inflicted deaths reviewed for this bulletin, only five prisoners were on ACCT monitoring at the time of their death.

Recall – Our investigations have shown the impact of the “recall merry go round”. Following recall to prison, IPP prisoners are faced again with the uncertainty around their sentence and if they will be released.

Key work scheme – We found the key work scheme is not operating as anticipated in all prisons.

Sentence progression – Setbacks in sentence progression can increase a prisoner’s risk of suicide and self-harm.

Visit page 9 of the bulletin for a wider summary of the lessons to be learned for HMPPS.

Click here to read the bulletin and here to read the press release