Prisons campaigner laid to rest
published: 30th May 2008
all credits: BBC News
Mourners have gathered for the funeral of a prisons campaigner who was found dead near her daughter’s grave. Pauline Campbell, 60, originally from Whitchurch, Shropshire, was found dead in Malpas, Cheshire, on 15 May. A service was held at Saint Alkmund’s Church in Whitchurch followed by a private burial at Malpas cemetery.
Her family said Mrs Campbell began a “tireless campaign” after her daughter Sarah died of a drug overdose at Styal prison, Cheshire, in 2003. Mrs Campbell spent five years highlighting the number of deaths that occurred every year in prisons and took part in many demonstrations.
Representatives from the Howard League for Penal Reform and the pressure group Inquest joined her family and friends at the funeral. In a tribute read to the service by her colleague, Sian Griffiths, Inquest co-director Deborah Coles said Mrs Campbell was a “fearless, formidable and passionate campaigner and a persistent thorn in the side of the state”.
The tribute said: “Pauline was haunted by the appalling treatment and neglect of her vulnerable daughter in prison, treatment described by the inquest jury as a failure in the duty of care. “It is hard to overstate the emotional impact on families of the death in prison of someone they love and the way this is exacerbated by state secrecy, insensitivity, delay and lack of accountability.
“Pauline’s subsequent determined campaigning was her way of her holding the Prison Service to account.” In a statement after Mrs Campbell’s death, her family said she had never recovered from the loss of her daughter. It was her reaction to Sarah’s death which drove her campaign to support the reform of conditions in women’s prison and to support other parents who lost their children in similar circumstances, it said.
“To that end she travelled the length and breadth of the country organising and attending demonstrations wherever there was a death of a woman in custody,” it added.