SHOCKING new statistics show levels of prison violence and self harm have more than doubled within HMP Haverigg over the past year.

There have been 30 serious attacks by prisoners against other inmates at the correctional facility near Millom in the last 12 months - up from 15 in 2014.

Prison staff were also subject to four serious assaults while working at the jail last year, the same number as during 2014.

Prison bosses also reported a sharp spike in the number of prisoners who self harmed last year with 154 separate incidents - the highest ever recorded at HMP Haverigg.

In comparison, there were 66 in 2014 and 49 in 2013.

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Two prisoners died of natural causes last year - while the last prisoner to have taken his own life was Barrow dad of one, Richard Scott Green, 23, of the town's Broad Close, who was found hanged in his cell in 2014.

An inquest into the death of Mr Green heard he had reported threats and bullying from other inmates at the Category C prison in the weeks leading up to his death.

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The latest statistics have been released by the Department for Justice as part of its annual Safety in Custody report.

It paints a grim picture of life behind bars in which violent incidents have increased by nearly a third, attacks on staff are up 40 per cent, incidents of self harm are rocketing and deaths in custody are on the increase.

The situation has been described as 'unacceptable' by new Lord Chancellor Liz Truss - who oversees prisons on behalf of the government.

"The level of violence in our prisons is unacceptable.

"I am clear that safety in prisons is fundamental to the proper functioning of our justice system and a vital part of our reform plans."

Campaigners for prison reform condemned the latest figures that illustrate inmates are less safe behind bars than just a year ago.

Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "Once again, official figures spell out the urgent need for prison reform.

"Prisons are not only becoming more dangerous; they are becoming more dangerous more quickly."

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