1. ITV Report

Prison safety in spotlight as assaults in jail reach record level

Violence in prisons has reached a new high Credit: PA

Violence in prisons has surged to record levels, with assaults in prisons in England and Wales reaching a new high, official figures show.

There were a record 27,193 assaults reported in the year to June 2017, an increase of 14% from the previous year, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice

That figure that includes a record 7,437 assaults on staff, but both prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and assaults on staff have increased.

Over the same period, self-harm in prisons reached a record high of 41,103 incidents.

Assaults reported
Incidents of self-harm

Richard Burgon, Labour's shadow justice secretary, called the figures "scandalous" and blamed the rise on government cuts.

"Government policies that have led to severe overcrowding and cutting of more than 6,000 prison officers are squarely to blame for this situation," Mr Burgon said.

Labour has blamed the rise in violence on cuts to prison funding Credit: PA

The management of prisons is a growing concern, with the new figures coming just months after the justice ministry revealed that more than 70 prisoners were released in error over the last year - the highest number since records began 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, the figures show a decrease in the number of deaths in custody.

In the year up to September deaths in custody fell to 300 - a fall of 24 from the previous 12 months. Some 77 of these were self-inflicted deaths, down 33 from the previous year.