MPs and lords slam prisons over deaths

    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
    week.

    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

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