• Preventing Self-injury and Suicide in Women's Prisons by Tammi Walker and Graham Towl - book cover

Preventing Self-injury and Suicide in Women’s Prisons

by Tammi Walker and Graham Towl, Foreword by Lord Toby Harris


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In 2015 the landmark suicide of the 100th woman to kill herself in prison custody passed largely unnoticed. This award-winning book by two experts sets out to redress the balance by examining all aspects of the history, present practices, causes and prevention prospects connected to this tragic chain of events. A long overdue analysis of a subject that is at last beginning to receive enhanced scrutiny. Focuses on both women and adolescent girls in custody. Looks at psychological, demographic, environmental and clinical factors. The first book of its kind.


Winner of the British Psychological Society Book Award 2017 – Practitioner Text Category – More details.

‘Walker and Towl focus on suicide and self-injury in imprisoned women and girls, thoroughly describing its causes, manifestations and treatment… helpfully providing chapter summary points and further reading in each… the book is fascinating, easy to read and carefully structured… It will inform all those who work with vulnerable women…‘– The Psychologist.

‘Walker and Towl’s new book is a really welcome addition to the suicide and self-injury literature. It covers considerable ground in a concise and accessible way. Not only does it provide great coverage of the key issues around suicide and self-injury in women’s prisons, it provides really helpful tips on supporting women, on staff training and on managing the aftermath of a suicide. I highly recommend this book’– Professor Rory O’Connor, University of Glasgow.

‘Very helpful in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of current practice and understanding why reductions in the prison population and a holistic approach to care are vital in saving lives’– Dr Jo Borrill, University of Westminster.

‘The question that arises from this book is, “How can we as a society heap any more punishment on people who are already punishing themselves?”– Mark Johnson MBE, author of Wasted (Sphere, 2008), founder of CanDo Coffee and the charity User Voice.

‘[The authors] bring an often neglected subject into sharp relief and, refreshingly, they are not afraid to make some strong, evidence-based assertions about the direction of penal policy and gaps in our understanding’– Anita Dockley, Research Director, Howard League for Penal Reform.

‘A wide-ranging examination of cause and effect, attitudinal problems and current policy connected with self-injury and suicide among prisoners … indispensible in informing and supporting political decision-making … anyone professionally involved in this area should purchase a copy’– Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers.


Dr Tammi Walker is Principal Lecturer in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University and a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society. She has research interests in the areas of women, self-injury, suicide, trauma and resilience in staff, all of which she has published on. Professor Graham Towl is widely published in areas of risk assessment, prisoner suicide and mental health, including Suicide in Prisons: Prisoners’ Lives Matter (Waterside Press, 2017). He is Professor of Forensic Psychology, Durham University and recipient of a number of psychology-related awards.

The author of the Foreword

Lord Toby Harris was Chair of the critically placed Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody and Chair of the NOMS review into self-inflicted deaths in its custody (The Harris Review) 2009-2015.

Additional information

Weight268 g
Dimensions234 × 156 × 10 mm

Foreword author

Lord Toby Harris


Waterside Press




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Place of origin

United Kingdom

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