In May 2018, INQUEST published Still dying on the inside: examining deaths in women’s prisons providing unique insight into deaths in women’s prisons. The report was based on an examination of official data, INQUEST’s research, casework and an analysis of coroners’ reports and jury findings.
This 2019 briefing provides an update to that report, reflecting on the cases and figures for 2018/2019.
It highlights the findings from inquests that took place between January 2018 and April 2019, including that of Emily Hartley, Annabella Landsberg, Jessica Whitchurch, Natasha Chin, Nicola Jayne Lawrence and Sarah Maria Burke. Also included is updated statistics on the deaths in women's prisons, noting that there have now been 106 deaths (to 10 May 2019) since the 2007 Corston Review.
To prevent deaths in women’s prisons, INQUEST is calling on government and parliamentarians, policy makers, practitioners and campaigners to recognise women’s imprisonment as a form of structural violence against women; honour international treaty obligations to safeguard vulnerable women and girls; and work together towards eradicating outdated and failing women’s prisons.
Key INQUEST recommendations in the report:
- Redirect resources from criminal justice to welfare, health, housing and social care.
- Divert women away from the criminal justice system.
- Halt prison building and commit to an immediate reduction in the prison population.
- Review sentencing decisions and policy.
- An urgent review of the deaths of women following release from prison.
- Ensure access to justice and learning for bereaved families.
- Build a national oversight mechanism for implementing official recommendations.