396 Prisoners Died in the 12 months to June 2021

London: This is over a third higher than the previous 12 months and the highest rate of deaths per 1000 prisoners on record. Of these, 80 deaths were self-inflicted, a 3% increase. These statistics reveal the devastating impact of Covid-19 and highly restricted prison regimes on both mental and physical health of people in prisons. Our Head of Policy, Louise Finer, spoke to BBC File on 4 about the broader failings in the prison healthcare system which are contributing to yet more preventable deaths.

In September, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman published their report on a particularly shocking death in prison – the death of a baby at HMP Bronzefield in 2019. INQUEST is working with the mother’s legal team and responded: “This harrowing report exposes the inhumane treatment of a young woman in need. It is further evidence of the inability and inappropriateness of prisons for keeping people facing serious trauma safe, and in this case their new born babies.”

The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, alongside family campaigner Linda Allan, have published research on Fatal Accident Inquiries (FAI – the equivalent of inquests) on deaths in prison in Scotland. Over a 15 year period, their analysis found that FAI’s are taking three or more years to conclude, and in 94% no recommendations are made to prevent future deaths. Meanwhile, the number of deaths in Scottish prisons has risen. INQUEST joined the researchers and campaigners in calling for action to challenge this failing system.

We support the campaign led by Women in Prison and Birth Companions, calling for the Government to stop sending pregnant women to prison. Join us by signing and sharing the petition.


INQUEST Autumn Newsletter 2021 –

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