Cover: Self-inflicted Deaths in NOMS' Custody Amongst 18–24 Year Olds

Self-inflicted Deaths in NOMS' Custody Amongst 18–24 Year Olds

Staff Experience, Knowledge and Views

Published Jul 1, 2015

by Amy Ludlow, Bethany Schmidt, Thomas Akoensi, Alison Liebling, Chris Giacomantonio, Alex Sutherland

This Report presents the findings of research into self-inflicted deaths (SID) in custody amongst 18–24 year olds in National Offender Management Service (NOMS) custody in England and Wales. This research was commissioned by the Harris Review into Self-Inflicted Deaths In Custody Amongst 18–24 Year Olds, and was undertaken by RAND Europe and the Prisons Research Centre, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge.

This research focused on staff experience, knowledge and views, which have been gathered through interviews and observations at five prisons in England and Wales. The document will be of interest to government, civil society and academic audiences interested in improving prisoner wellbeing and safety generally and SID reduction and risk management specifically.

The Report consists of seven sections that address the research questions set out by the Harris Review. Sections 1 and 2 provide an overview of the background, context and methods of the study. Sections 3–6 present the findings of the study relating to four key themes — how staff conceive of risk of SID, how SID risk is managed, staff training and institutional and individual responses to SID. The report closes with a review of promising practice and areas for improvement based on staff suggestions.

Please note: This report is not available on the RAND website but can be downloaded from the Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) on Deaths in Custody website.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for The Independent Review into Self-inflicted Deaths of 18-24 year olds in Custody (The Harris Review) and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.