Category Archives: Prison News

Women shouldn’t be forced to seek refuge inside a prison

Borstal young offender cellsource: Politics.co.uk
published: 20 May 2016

By Claire Cain
Over the years Holloway has been like a refuge to me – sleeping in doorways was tough. When it was freezing and there was snow on the ground, I would never have survived outside.”

The above quote is from the story Survival, part of an online collection of anonymous first-hand accounts about life in soon to be closed Holloway prison. It says everything about why we, at the national charity Women in Prison (WIP), have launched a campaign to Reclaim Holloway, and why we want to see a different approach to prison reform from that set out in the Queen’s Speech.

Every year around 9,000 women are sent to prison, yet the only risk of harm posed by most of them is to themselves. Suicides in prison are on the rise. Read the rest of this entry

Vulnerable ‘at risk in mass secure units for juveniles’

Prisoner hands on barssource: The Observer
published: 29 Nov 2014

Controversial plans that would see children “warehoused” in a new generation of large-scale secure colleges for juvenile offenders will be confirmed on Monday [24 November].

Peers in the House of Lords had tabled amendments to the criminal justice and courts bill so that the colleges would exclude boys under the age of 15 and all girls. But the government will reject the amendments when the bill goes back before parliament.

The move will dismay prison reform groups, who are concerned by plans to create large units capable of holding up to 320 offenders, including girls and boys aged between 12 and 17.

The government believes the colleges will provide a more healthy environment for young offenders, one that is more like a school than a prison, and stresses that girls and younger boys will be protected because they will be held in separate, fenced-off blocks. Read the rest of this entry

Alarm over deaths and suicides at Pentonville Prison ‘warehouse’

Borstal young offender cellby: Islington Tribune
published: 22 August 2014

Campaigners are calling for action following an alarming rise in the number of deaths and suicides at Pentonville Prison, which has seen six young men – four of whom had mental health problems – take their lives in four years.

The prison, in Caledonian Road, was judged unfit for the 21st century by chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick in February.

This week, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard that Noah Smith, 49, was found hanged in his cell at the prison, which has been described as a “warehouse” and a “massively overcrowded railway station”. Mr Smith was being treated for long-term mental health problems and substance misuse by Whittington Hospital NHS Trust and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

The court heard that he had been admitted to prison after being convicted of affray and that there was evidence he may have done so to get taken into custody deliberately.

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