‘Keep women out of prison’ say lawyers

The Howard League for Penal Reform is urging courts to avoid
sending women to prison after two women died within days of each
other last week.

Katherine Jones, 19, who was on remand, was found hanging in her
cell at Brockhill Prison just two and a half days after Mandy
Pearson died at New Hall Prison, having been given a five-month

League director Frances Crook said: “Thousands of women with
serious mental health problems are sent to prison every year when
they should be given treatment instead.”

There were 14 suicides of women in prisons in England and Wales in
2003 and 13 deaths this year so far.

At a briefing at the House of Commons last week for Community
Care’s Back on Track campaign, a man whose daughter killed herself
in prison called on the government to ensure that women with mental
health problems were not sent to prison.

Peter Blanksby’s daughter Petra died in November 2003 at New Hall
Prison, where she was on remand for arson for trying to kill
herself by setting her bedroom on fire.

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