The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced that there were 57 apparent self-inflicted deaths among prisoners in England and Wales during 2011. Crispin Blunt, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Prisons and Probation said: ’Every death in prison is a tragedy, and affects families, staff and other prisoners deeply.’
A 15-year-old boy has died after being found unconscious in his cell at a young offenders institution in Kent. The Prison Service said Alex Kelly had been identified as being at risk of suicide or self-harm, but did not give details of the boy’s condition when he was found.
Campaigners challenged Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan‑Howe last Thursday over “aggressive and degrading treatment” at a recent demonstration against deaths in custody. The activists from the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) demanded answers at a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority.
Two prison officers have been charged following the death of an inmate at a Lancashire jail. Christopher Oldham, 36, was found hanging in his cell in HMP Preston on 21 April. He was on remand, accused of perverting the course of justice. Shaun Percy, 49, of Walton-le-Dale, is charged with misconduct in public office. He has been suspended.
The Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (IAP) has today published their statistical analysis of all recorded deaths in state custody between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2011. This represents an important piece of work for the Panel as this is the first time that all recorded deaths in state custody will be broken down by ethnicity, gender, age and cause of death, and presented together in a single format.
A prisoner serving a sentence in Shropshire has died after being found hanged in his cell. Nicholas Saunders, 18, was at HMP Stoke Heath, which holds young offenders. He was found hanging in his cell at 1330 BST on Saturday. Staff attempted emergency resuscitation and paramedics tried to save him, but Mr Saunders was pronounced dead at 1440 BST.
Ministers plan to slash the number of women sent to prison amid complaints that women behind bars are exposed to increased risks of mental illness, self-harm and even suicide. The Government plans to use the forthcoming sentencing review to reverse the rising numbers of women jailed – often on remand or for “minor” offences such as shoplifting.
In all the 2010 election brouhaha about fairness in society, no political party has made the alarming number of deaths of Black people in police custody a priority. However, thanks to the GPI Generation (the heirs of the “Stop Police Brutality” marches) the anguish and concerns of Black communities and voters have gained a voice.