Prevention of deaths in prisons examined

13 March 2017

The Joint Committee on Human Rights holds its fourth oral evidence session on Mental Health and Deaths in Prisons.


Wednesday 15 March 2017, Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster

At 3.15pm

  • Deborah Coles, Director, Inquest
  • Rt Hon the Lord Bradley
  • Dr Andrew Forrester, Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychiatry, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Institute of Psychiatry

At 4.00pm

  • Mike Rolfe, Chair, the Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers
  • Andrea Albutt, President, Prison Governors Association
  • Mike Trace, Chief Executive, Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust
  • Mark Johnson, Founder of User Voice

Focus of the inquiry

The inquiry seeks to establish whether a human rights based approach can lead to better prevention of deaths in prison of people with mental health conditions.

The Committee examines why progress has not been made, despite the myriad recommendations made by the reports of other investigations and inquiries; and it will seek to identify the most important recommendations in these reports which have not been implemented and which ought to be.

Chair's comment

"Human rights law imposes a positive duty on the state to protect the life of those in its care, including in prisons. The rigorous application of a human rights framework may reveal that there is more that can be done to prevent non-natural deaths in prison of people with mental health conditions. JCHR seeks to ensure that this inquiry will make a distinctive, human rights-based contribution to solving the problem.

Our Rapporteur on Mental Health and Human Rights, Amanda Solloway MP, has undertaken a series of informal visits and meetings related to human rights and mental health in prisons, and it is clear from her findings that urgent action is needed.

Building on the many inquiries and reports into deaths in custody, including the recent Harris Review of Self-inflicted Deaths in Custody of 18-24 year olds (PDF 2.4MB) and the EHRC Report and ongoing Progress Reviews on Preventing Deaths in Detention of Adults with Mental Health Conditions, our inquiry will aim to ensure that recommendations aimed at avoiding such deaths are no longer ignored."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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