INQUEST response to PPO learning lessons bulletin on segregation
9 June 2015
INQUEST is concerned about the disturbing number of deaths in segregation, highlighted by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s bulletin, published today.
Similar to the PPO’s findings, INQUEST has identified cases where prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm have been held in segregation units without an adequate assessment of the risks they pose to themselves or where segregation has not been used as a measure of last resort. Segregation units remain some of the most bleak and impoverished places in prisons; they should only be used in “exceptional circumstances” and for the shortest time possible.
INQUEST continues to work on a high number of deaths where extremely vulnerable individuals have been placed in segregation. These include the death of 32 year old Dwane Harper who was found hanging in his cell on the segregation unit at HMP Woodhill on 4 April 2014.
The deaths have occurred despite a series of coroner reports highlighting the dangerous practices of placing vulnerable prisoners in segregation, particular those who were on an ACCT (the assessment tool used in prisons to identify and care for prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm) at the time.
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s bulletin can be read here.
‘You have clearly made yourselves a force to be reckoned with, a powerful instrument for good. In the process you have not only achieved real change in an aspect of our common life which would have commanded little attention or esteem were it not for your efforts, but you have at the same time offered enormous support to those bereaved people who long for a clear verdict on the death in custody of someone who means a great deal to them.’
– Dr Peter Selby, President of the National Council for Independent Monitoring Boards