Mary Foxall: Remembering my 19 year-old son Jake

Hands behind jail bars

source: INQUEST
published: April 2018

“At 11pm on 7th November 2015, I got the phone call that every mum and dad dreads. The governor from the now closed prison, Glen Parva, phoned to say that my child Jake had tried to take his own life. You know she didn’t even ask if I was with any one, just came right out with it.”

Jake later died on the 12 Nov 2015 at 15.55, me and his brother were there by his side. It was a shock for me as that morning I was speaking with Jake’s little brother and we didn’t think he sounded any different from any other day. His last words to us were I love you and see you soon.

Jake had been placed in Bullingdon for 4 months before being transferred to Glen Parva. It was a struggle for Jake as he didn’t want to be transferred to a prison which would put more miles between him and his family.

At the time I didn’t know anything about Glen Parva. But that was about to change. Before it was shut down, Glen Parva was a notorious prison, known for a high number of self-inflicted deaths of young men.

Prison inspections and reports from charities like INQUEST showed how the prison was rife with bullying and violence. Examples of abuses included detainees charging ‘rent’ for cells and prison dealers making debt threats to those who bought legal highs from them.

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