Suspected Suicide and Self-harm Threat to Life Incidents in New Zealand Prisons

29 February 2024

This report makes for a challenging read because the statistics represent the lives and sadly, in some cases, the deaths
of people in prisons in New Zealand. This report provides insights for us all and lessons to be learned.

We should all be concerned about the deaths by suspected suicide of people who are imprisoned, and should adopt a
prevention focused approach to managing people in closed environments. It is our duty to care about this and do all
we can, individually, collectively and across sectors to prevent these deaths and serious self-harm events.

The genesis for this work was my, and others’, concern that the number of suspected suicides and serious self-harm
incidents in our prisons in New Zealand was increasing. Given our reports of deaths in custody are not published, it
was, for me, imperative to examine and report on this area of concern publicly.

I consider this a companion report to my recently publicly released Separation and Isolation: Thematic Report: Prisoners
who have been kept apart from the prison population as there are significant areas of commonality, with those
separated or isolated whilst in prison often being involved in serious self-harm incidents or, sadly, dying by suspected

To all those who have contributed to this work, I thank you for your care, compassion, and commitment. This report
has taken time to complete with the challenges of undertaking our work during and post the COVID-19 pandemic, but
I trust it is testament to our best endeavours to tackle what is perhaps the most challenging of subjects.

Janis  Adair
Chief Inspector of Corrections