A vulnerable woman on suicide watch hangs herself in prison
originally by: 4WardEver Campaign
published: 7th April 2007
News updates listed at the foot of this item
Victoria Robinson was found hanging in her prison cell at New Hall Prison on 2nd February 2005. Victoria was the fourth woman to die at the jail over the previous 12 months. In the previous year 13 women died, apparently at their own hands, in jails in England and Wales; three of them at New Hall. She was on suicide watch at New Hall prison, near Wakefield when she was found by staff and pronounced dead after 45 minutes.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said “Staff immediately attempted resuscitation and the emergency services were summoned. Paramedics arrived but treatment was stopped and she was pronounced dead.
On 10th February 2005, Pauline Campbell whose own daughter Sarah, in Styal Prison, Cheshire, in January 2003; returned to the gates of a troubled women’s jail to highlight the “scandal” of soaring prison death rates. The retired college lecturer held a demonstration outside the Prison following the death.
She said: “We are here to draw attention to the fact that Victoria Robinson is the fourth person to die in New Hall in a year.”Women are not safe in this institution. There is a crisis in the prison system as a whole because they are over populated. “There is no need for many of these young women to be locked.”Far too many people are held on remand that do not need to be and many more have mental health problems. They should be dealt with in different environments.”
In January 2005 the prison was named and shamed for the second year running for having record suicide levels.
The Howard League for Penal Reform named and shamed the prison as having one of the worst records for self inflicted harm. Although women only made up five per cent of the total prison population in 2005, they accounted for over 15 per cent of suicides and 45 per cent of incidents of self harm.
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said: “This shameful and relentless death toll exposes a crisis in women’s prisons, and the numbers of women being sent to prisons that cannot protect their right to life.”
She went on to say “Only two days ago an inquest was held into the death of Helena Price in HMP New Hall. Inquest is concerned that the lessons from these deaths are not being learned and because of this women keep dying.”
Campaigners protest at death of woman prisoner
11 February 2005
Woman prisoner becomes fourth suicide victim at jail
4 February 2005
INQUEST Press Release (PDF file – off-site)
3 February 2005