Paul Calvert

Paul CalvertDepressed inmate was found hanged in his cell

Originally published: 26 April 2007
all credits: Hackney Gazette
News updates listed at the foot of this item

Pentonville prison has rightly been criticised over the death of Paul Calvert in October, 2004. Mr Calvert, who had a history of self-harm and depression, was found hanged in his cell and his death raises very serious issues about the state’s culpability when vulnerable people die in prisons. Returning a misadventure verdict, the jury at St Pancras coroner’s court highlighted shortcomings on the part of the prison, including disablement of cell bells, breach of security and lack of communication.

However, the existing archaic inquest system and the lack of accountability following deaths in custody have meant that too often in the past coroners’ findings have not been implemented. This has led to widespread concern and criticism of the coroners’ system, one of the most neglected areas of law in the UK.

Paul Calvert, who was on remand at Pentonville, leaves behind two young children. Every year, more than 150,000 children in England and Wales are separated from a parent as a result of imprisonment and more than 13,000 people are currently remanded in prison, although innocent until proven guilty. The overuse of custodial remand represents a gross miscarriage of justice.

It is unacceptable that Paul Calvert’s family had to wait two-and-a-half years before the inquest was held and I should like to express my sincere condolences to the grieving family in their tragic loss.

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Follow-up News:

INQUEST Press Release – 2nd inquest update (PDF file off-site)
16 November 2009

Second inquest into death of vulnerable inmate (PDF file off-site)
5 November 2009

Inquest into death of vulnerable inmate (PDF file off-site)
5 January 2007

Family should seek justice over prisoner’s cell death
13 April 2007

Holloway protest against deaths in prison
17 July 2007

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