originally by: The Guardian
published: 28th August 2011
Police forces, prisons and youth detention centres face prosecution for corporate homicide from this week if an individual dies in their custody.
In the 10 years between 1999 and 2009, 333 people died in or following police custody, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Ministry of Justice figures show that last year there were 58 self-inflicted deaths among prisoners in England and Wales.
Until now, the prison service, police forces and immigration units have not been subject to the new Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act, and there have been no successful prosecutions of police or prison officers, individually or at a senior management level, for institutional failures that have contributed to a death in custody.
But from 1 September a clause in the Corporate Homicide Act 2007 will come into place extending the law to cover all deaths in police custody suites, prison cells, mental health detention facilities, young offenders institutions and immigration suites. It will also cover Ministry of Defence institutions.