Prison assaults reach record high while 71 prisoners released in error
The Liberal Democrats have accused the government of "turning prisons into powder kegs", after damning figures showed both assaults and self-harm have reached a record high, while 71 prisoners have been released in error.
In the year to March 2017, incidents of self-harm reached a record high of 40,414 while assaults soared to a record 26,643, up 20% on the previous year.
Serious assaults on staff have trebled since 2013, reaching 805 in the year to March 2017.
The shocking figures also showed 71 prisoners were released in error over the past year, the highest number since records began.
Separate annual performance ratings showed 10 prisons were rated as having an overall performance of serious concern, the lowest possible ranking.
Responding, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael commented:
"Scandalous underfunding under this Conservative government has turned our prisons into powder kegs.
"It is beyond belief that 71 potentially dangerous prisoners have been released by mistake.
"What should be places of rehabilitation are now dangerous hotbeds of violence, self-harm and drug abuse.
"No prison guard should have to go to work in fear of being seriously assaulted while being outnumbered six to one.
"The government has lost control of our prisons and urgently needs to get a grip.