Mental health and deaths in prison examined

27 March 2017

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


Wednesday 29 March 2017, Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster

At 3.15pm

  • Lord Farmer
  • Dr Eamonn O'Moore, Director, Health and Justice, Public Health England, and Director, UK Collaborating Centre, World Health Organisation
  • Dr Kate Paradine, Chief Executive, Women in Prison
  • Catherine May, Head of External Affairs in Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission

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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