Inmate suicide figures expose human toll of prison crisis

Prison-bars-at-Felthamsource: The Guardian
published: 17 October 2014

The human toll of the crisis gripping prisons in England and Wales is exposed with new figures obtained by the Guardian revealing that 125 prisoners have killed themselves in 20 months – an average of more than six a month.

For the first time the Guardian has identified the individuals behind the statistics that show suicide is at its highest rate in prisons for nine years, and there is no sign that the scale of the tragedy is being checked.

The investigation, which examined all suicides between January 2013 and 28 August 2014, found four women and 121 men, aged between 18 and 74, killed themselves in the adult prison system.

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MPs hear of Exeter custody death man as charity calls for change

Thomas Orchardby: Exeter Express and Echo
published: 11 December 2013

The case of an Exeter man who suffocated when a belt was tied across his face in police custody was raised in Westminster to highlight concerns over the way police deal with those with mental health issues.

Thomas Orchard died just over a year ago from following an alleged incident at Heavitree Road police station after he was arrested.

The family are currently waiting for the CPS to make a decision on any charges against the individuals involved – with a charge of corporate manslaughter among those currently under consideration.

A decision is expected within the next few weeks.

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Peter Barnes inquest: 'Lessons should be learned'

Feltham Prison Insideby: Bradford Telegraph and Argus
published: 4th November 2013

An inquest today heard that lessons should be learned after a patient was found dead in the grounds of a Bradford psychiatric hospital one week after he went missing on an unsupervised cigarette break.

Angus Moon QC, representing the privately-run Cygnet Hospital, Wyke, was making submissions yesterday in the final days of what has been a four-week hearing into the death of 31-year-old Peter Barnes on October 13, 2011.

A post-mortem examination has revealed Mr Barnes was likely to have hanged himslf only a few hours after he went missing.

Mr Moon said: “Cygnet wishes to have the opportunity to learn from this inquest and in so far as there’s any evidence about any changes not already made then Cygnet would value a report from you (the Coroner) which would identify those areas.”

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