Fatal incidents 2014-15

  • There were 250 deaths in 2014-15, 11 (5%) more than the year before. The increase was predominantly among adult male prisoners.
  • There were 7 deaths in approved premises, a decrease from 11 last year.
  • There was 1 self-inflicted death and 1 death from natural causes in the immigration removal estate.
  • Continuing the trend of recent years, we began 15% more investigations into deaths from natural causes (155 deaths). This appears to be a consequence of rising numbers of older prisoners; on average the people who died of natural causes were 58 years old, compared to 37 years old for all other deaths.
  • There were 76 self-inflicted deaths. This is a welcome decrease (16%) from 2013-14, but remains high relative to recent years.
  • We were notified of 4 apparent homicides, the same number as the previous year.
  • A further 7 deaths were classified as ‘other non-natural’ and 8 await classification.
  • We issued 245 draft reports and 253 final reports, compared to 224 and 258 last year. Our new website has an improved search feature for anonymous reports and during 2014-15 we added 419 reports.
  • Despite the increased numbers of deaths we continued to improve our timeliness, with 97% of our draft reports issued in time compared to 92% last year. We also improved our performance for final reports, 57% of which were in time compared to 43% last year.
  • The average time taken to produce a natural cause death draft report was 18 weeks and 25 weeks for other cases, including self-inflicted deaths (compared to 20 and 27 weeks in 2013-14).
  • In the 2014 stakeholder survey, 9 out of 10 stakeholders rated the overall quality of the PPO’s work to be satisfactory or better.

Complaints 2014-15

  • We received 4,964 complaints in 2014-15, a 2% increase on the previous year.
  • However, cases actually accepted for investigation increased by 13% on the previous year. In 2014-15, we started 2,380 investigations, compared to 2,111 the year before.
  • Most (92%) of the complaints received were about prisons.
  • We received 318 complaints about probation, 15% less than last year and there was also a 6% decline in complaints from immigration detention (with just 62 received this year).
  • Overall, we completed 2,159 investigations, an 11% improvement compared to 2013-14.
  • Complaints about lost, damaged and confiscated property made 28% of these investigations. The next most common complaint categories were issues about administration (9%) and adjudications (7%).
  • We found in favour of the complainant in 39% (851) of our cases, compared to 34% the previous year.
  • Complaints from the high security estate accounted for 27% of the completed investigations in prison. This represents 3 complaints per 100 prisoners, compared to 1 complaint per 100 prisoners outside high security prisons.
  • Complaints from high security prisons were also slightly less likely to be upheld: we found in favour of the complainant in 36% of cases compared to 41% in other prisons.
  • This year we improved the time taken to investigate: 34% of cases were completed within 12 weeks of being allocated to an investigator, compared to 29% last year. Overall, the average time taken from assessment to the end of the investigation was 25 weeks, 1 week shorter than in 2013-14.