New INQUEST report calls for radical overhaul of prison system for women


Woman in Holloway Prisonoriginally by: INQUEST
published: 18 June 2013

INQUEST today publishes a comprehensive report on the deaths of women in prison and calls for a radical overhaul of the way women in conflict with the law are treated.

Six years after the Corston Review took place, the report examines the circumstances surrounding the deaths of women in prison and highlights how the underlying problems remain despite the serious criticisms contained in Baroness Corston’s report.

Deaths of women in prison throw the issues faced by women in the criminal justice system into sharp relief. Being the most extreme outcome of a system that has failed them in every way, the investigation and inquest process that follows offers the opportunity to examine the way women in the conflict with the law are treated and has uncovered some disturbing and ‘sadly familiar’ patterns. There have been 100 deaths of women in prison since 2002, and 38 since the Corston report was published in March 2007.

The report contains the stories of six women who died in prison in the last six years, including that of Melanie Beswick whose inquest was heard in April. All of these women were mothers, and five of them had been drug-dependent before entering prison. All raise serious questions about the appropriateness of being placed in a prison setting.

Read full Press Release >

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