Vulnerable offenders are dying because prison authorities are
failing in their duty of care under “fundamental” human rights
laws, according to a report into deaths in custody published this
MPs and lords have accused the government and prisons of
neglecting article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights,
which protects the right to life.
The third report from the parliamentary joint committee on human
rights slammed the “under-resourced and ramshackle” prison system
and called for greater action against deaths in custody.
Between 1999 and 2003, 434 prisoners in England and Wales took
their own lives.
Prisoners at risk with “multiple vulnerabilities” including
substance misuse and mental health problems were being held
“inappropriately” in prison.
The report highlighted the death of 16-year-old young offender
Joseph Scholes in March 2002 as an example of the “successive
failures” of the prison system in protecting children.
The report recommended the creation of a national expert task
force on deaths in custody headed by the Home Office and the
Department of Health.
- Deaths In Custody: The Third Report from the Joint Committee on
Human Rights can be obtained from www.parliament.uk