THE number of violent incidents at Usk and Prescoed Prison was up last year, despite more money being spent on inmates.

Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics have shown there were 16 assaults at the two sites in 2018 - five more than the previous year. The number of incidents of self-harm was also up from 13 in 2017 to 39.

Two people died at the sites in 2018, compared with one the previous year.


But, at the same time, spending per prisoner increased by five per cent in the 2018-2019 financial year, to £32,335 per inmate. In total, £17 million was ploughed into the prison over the financial year.

HMP Usk and Prescoed is one low-security prison over two sites. It has space for 230 inmates.

The figures have been released as a report by Westminster's Justice Committee warned England and Wales' prison system is in an "appalling state of crisis" and accused the government of having no clear plan for "desperately needed change".

Deborah Coles, executive director of the campaigning charity INQUEST, said the statistics showed an "endless cycle of systemic neglect and political indifference".

"Any incoming government must radically transform sentencing policy, reduce the prison population and redirect resources to community services," she added.

The MoJ said it would take time for improvements to be seen in prisons.

A spokesman said: "We know that levels of violence and self-harm in prisons are unacceptably high, but we remain determined to make progress so that our jails reform offenders, reduce reoffending and keep the public safe."

The prison system is not devolved, meaning all of Wales' prisons - all of which are men-only - are controlled by Westminster rather than Cardiff Bay

Across England and Wales, prison resources cost taxpayers £3.4 billion in 2018-19 – an average of £41,136 per inmate.

The bill has risen by more than £220 million over the last year with prices per inmate hiked by nearly 10 per cent – around £3,500.

At the same time, violence in the country's jails has continued to climb.

Attacks on prison staff jumped 15 per cent in 2018-19, with 10,315 assaults recorded.

The number of inmates self-harming also rose by 24 per cent over the period, to 58,030. As of September, self-harm incidents per person reached a record 4.8.

There were 317 deaths in custody in 2018-19, 87 of them self-inflicted.