The darkest time period in Brixton’s modern history was during the 1990s. In one eighteen month period fourteen prisoners and three staff took their own lives – a record for a British jail. The lessons learned from that time mean such cases are now rare.
But suicide is a dark motif of the prison’s two centuries. The document below shows the number of those who took their own life in 1948 and 1949 – none in the first year but two in the second. There were many more attempts – one apparently so desperate he drank paint.