INQUEST launch report at Transition to Adulthood conference on 2 March
16 March 2015
On March 2, INQUEST launched its evidence based report: Stolen Lives and Missed Opportunities: The deaths of young adults and children in prison at the much anticipated Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance conference, which was held at the prestigious British Library.
More than 250 policymakers, practitioners and charity representatives attended the conference and were given exclusive insights into INQUEST’s new research on young adult and child deaths in prison.
The report draws its findings from INQUEST's unique dataset, which has been compiled through our specialist advice and casework service, and our extensive work with bereaved family members throughout the investigation and inquest process.
Co-Director Deborah Coles and Policy and Parliamentary Officer, Ayesha Carmouche presented the findings of the report to a diverse audience working within the criminal justice system. The main findings included the deaths 65 young people and children in prison custody, underpinned by a pattern of failures and poor practice during the care of vulnerable groups.
A primary recommendation cited in INQUEST's report is that prison should be used as a last resort; and that early intervention and community alternatives are both, a necessary investment, should we want to prevent future deaths and reduce offending.
The presentation received an overwhelming degree of support and sparked a multi-level discussion among practitioners, academics and parliamentarians during the Q&A session. Many commentators reinforced our findings through their own work with vulnerable groups.
The longstanding advocate of INQUEST's work, Lord Ramsbotham, also made an important contribution to the discussion:
"I thank INQUEST for this important and well researched report. What this report demonstrates is that very little has been learned from past deaths and that there is a real lack of leadership and responsibility in prison management. If we have leadership we can ensure accountability."
Beyond the conference discussions, other supporters made their thoughts known via Twitter:
In welcoming the report Joyce Moseley, Chair of the T2A Alliance commented "they may be a small organisation but they punch well above their weight" .
We thank everyone for their support and contributions. With the election period - and beyond - offering further opportunites for fresh thinking, INQUEST will take forth its recommendations and lobby key decision makers to develop evidence-led strategies for the prevention of future deaths.
‘At the time of the tragedy, I had no idea of what to do or who to turn to. By luck, I found yourselves and contacted you, the rest as we say is history. On behalf of [my brother's] family, friends and myself I would just like to thank you so much for your professional support and advice during that difficult period and without that help, I do not think we would be where we are today.’
– Brother of a man who died in police custody