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Friday, 12 May 2017

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

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Action for Prisoners' and Offenders' Families
Part of Family Lives

April 2017


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.

Read their stories on Inside Time

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.

Find out more from the Prison Reform Trust

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".

Get the full story on the BBC website

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?"

Read more from Nandini Archer


Hidden Sentence training
Hidden Sentence raises awareness of the issues faced by prisoners' families and is suitable for all professionals who will come into contact with prisoners' families.

Learn more at the APOF website.


Women's Networking Forum- working with women in the criminal justice system - 27th April 2017, London

What if we rethought parole?16th May 2017, London

Tackling multiple disadvantage: 2nd national summit  – 8th/9th May 2017, Milton Keynes

Image by the InsideTimes

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