‘Major missed opportunity will mean that many lives continue to be wasted’

Borstal young offender cellsource: Toby Harris – TheJusticeGap
published: 20 December 2015

You wait nearly nine months for the Government response to your review – then they issue 36 reports on the same day. The independent review I led into self-inflicted deaths of young people in prison was submitted to the Ministry of Justice on 2 April 2015 and published as The Harris Review: Changing Prisons, Saving Lives on 1 July 2015. The Government’s response was finally issued on 17 December 2015.

So was the wait worth it?

The review itself was the most comprehensive independent examination of penal policy for a generation rooted in an enormous volume of evidence and research and underpinned by a detailed analysis of the tragic cases of 87 young people who died in prison between April 2007 and the end of 2013. Since when, there have been a further 29 self-inflicted deaths of young people in NOMS custody.

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Number of most dangerous prisoners in special units doubles

Prison Detention Barbed Wiresource: The Guardian
published: 25 August 2015

The number of the most dangerous male prisoners in England being held in a special “jail within a jail” system has doubled over the past decade, inspectors have revealed.

The first thematic inspection report of the system of close supervision centres in high-security prisons since 2006 also found more than half of those held in special conditions are Muslim and about a third are from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups.

The report, published on Tuesday by the chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, says about 60 of the most dangerous and most disruptive men in the English prison system are held in close supervision.

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Why are so many men dying inside Wandsworth Prison?

Wandsworth Prison source: Kingston Guardian
published: 24 July 2015

Criminal justice campaigners have claimed “overcrowded, understaffed” conditions at Wandsworth Prison are leading to deaths in custody – some of whom are innocent men waiting for a trial.

Men found dead in the category B prison over the past 18 months include:

– New Malden man Raymond Mills, 66, a psychiatric patient accused of murdering his wife, was found hanged in his cell in June.

Robert Richards, 22, who had been found guilty of rape and attempting to murder a Chessington pensioner, was found hanged in his cell in June last year.

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Mothers and sons. On children who died in UK prisons

Prisoner hands on barssource: The Justice Gap
published: 24 June 2015

Joseph Scholes and Adam Rickwood died within weeks of being placed in penal institutions. Carolyne Willow met the boys’ mothers, and tells their stories in her shocking book, Children Behind Bars.

Joseph’s story:
Joseph Scholes loved Lego. Every Christmas he would ask for the biggest set, the castle or the pirate galleon, and spend the day building. Joseph was one of four children, he belonged to a close family: they ate meals together around the kitchen table, had regular holidays and enjoyed each others’ company.

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