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High suicide risks in juvenile jail

PUBLISHED: 16:05 25 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

A THIRD of juveniles in Hollesley Bay Prison think about committing suicide, according to a new report by the county's director of public health.

A THIRD of juveniles in Hollesley Bay Prison think about committing suicide, according to a new report by the county's director of public health.

Dr Brian Keeble's annual report, to be launched by Suffolk Health next Wednesday, calls on the Prison Service and NHS to consider health as a priority in Hollesley Bay, Highpoint and Blundeston prisons which house 1,150 men, 200 women and 200 boys under 18.

Suicides in custody have more than doubled over the last 16 years and incidents of self harm are common.

The report also reveals high levels of smoking (80per cent of prisoners smoke), juvenile drug use (80pc of juveniles illegally used drugs before they were jailed) and chronic illnesses like epilepsy and diabetes, when compared with other people of the same age in the community.

The report shows that 36-61pc of jailed men have mental health problems, but reveals a serious problem with recruiting and retaining medical and nursing staff and extremely limited specialist mental health services.

Dr Keeble said the consulting rooms at Hollesley Bay's juvenile prison are cramped and lack confidentiality, but juvenile dental suites are well equipped and there are health centres on each unit of the prison.

The report also shows education is a crucial influence on health and people who achieve more qualifications and study for longer, suffer less illnesses and live longer.

But Dr Keeble added: "The reasons for this association are however, less clear."

In Ipswich, 15pc of pupils receive free school meals, compared with 4.3pc in Mid Suffolk, and 5.4pc in Suffolk Coastal – all areas where pupils score marginally higher on Key Stage 2 tests.

Deprived areas have less students going to university – 4.8pc in Ipswich compared to 7.5pc in Babergh which has low poverty levels.

The report for 2001 also looks at falling cancer rates and deaths from the disease, osteoporosis prevention, diabetes, and infectious diseases including flu vaccinations.

n The report is available by telephoning 01473 323415 or see www.suffolkhealth.nhs.uk/reports

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