Eighteen prisoners have killed themselves at the jail in Milton Keynes. Bereaved families bring case against government over prisoner suicides and legal action against Liz Truss
Action for Prisoners' and Offenders' Families
Part of Family Lives
Relatives of prisoners at HMP Woodhill who have taken their own lives
are to bring a legal challenge against the institution’s governor and
the justice secretary Liz Truss for allegedly failing to introduce basic
safety measures. Eighteen prisoners have killed themselves at the jail
in Milton Keynes since early 2013, despite repeated recommendations and
guidance from coroners’ reports and official bodies that investigate
deaths in custody.
Deaths in custody reached a record high in England and Wales last
year. In 2016, there were 119 self-inflicted deaths; the previous year
there were 89. Read the full story on the Guardian website.
"They've saved me and I can't thank them enough"- Inside Time special report
With a single punch, a promising young life was brought to an end. Now,
with the help of the victim’s family, the man who killed their son is
building a new life.
Failing complaints system allows discrimination against prisoners to go unchecked, finds report
Only one in 100 prisoners who made an allegation of discrimination
against prison staff had their case upheld by the prison. By contrast,
three in four staff (76%) reports of alleged discrimination by a
prisoner were upheld, an in-depth research report by the Zahid Mubarek
Trust and the Prison Reform Trust reveals.
The report finds that the system for handling discrimination
complaints in prisons is neither fair nor impartial, does not have the
confidence of prisoners, and is failing to provide prisons with the
opportunity to learn and provide more equitable treatment. As prisons
struggle to cope with increasing violence and fewer officers, equality
has slipped down the priority list.
Yearly checks needed for people within the criminal justice system who experience mental health problems, say NICE
Up to 90% of people in prison are thought to have some form of mental
health problem. And a report by the Ministry of Justice found nearly
200 suicides occurred in UK prisons last year.
New final guidance from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care
Excellence) aims to address the gaps in how mental health is diagnosed
and treated within the criminal justice system.
The guidance says everyone working in the criminal justice system
should work more closely together to provide the best care possible.
Ad-hoc mental health checks need to be carried out when an offender
experiences a major life event, such as a difficult court case or
transfer to a different custodial setting, the guidance says. Read more on the NICE website
Prisoner legal aid cuts appeal succeeds
A Court of Appeal ruling over cuts to legal aid for prisoners in England
and Wales has been hailed as a "ground-breaking victory".
The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prisoners' Advice Service
challenged the removal in 2013 of certain categories of prison law from
the scope of criminal legal aid. They said removing legal aid from some
of the most vulnerable people in society was unfair. Three judges ruled
in their favour.
Lord Justice Beatson, sitting with Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice
Patten, said they had focused on "vulnerable prisoners, such as those
with learning disabilities and mental illness".
Why the old Holloway Prison should become a new women's building
In the words of one inmate, at the time of the Holloway prison's
closure: "Wouldn't it be a good place to provide housing for women who
have lost everything through coming to prison? Who are leaving and
trying to piece their life back together but usually have nowhere to go.
And wouldn't it be a good idea to build a women's centre to support
women to move forward?"