Cymru – Prison Deaths Concerns

Campaign groups are expressing concern that deaths in prison are not being investigated ‘quickly or rigorously enough’ according to a report for BBC Cymru this week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-44072973

The claims have been rebutted by the Acting Probation and Prisons Ombudsman (PPO) but one MP has warned some deaths in prisons could be perceived as amounting to the “death penalty” if they were “tolerated as normal.”

Its a case of deja vu for the Celtic League as well over a decade ago as part of our human rights brief we raised concerns about the situation in prisons in Wales particularly the privately run Parc prison which had ad still has one of the worst records for death and self harm in any UK prison.

In November 2009 I wrote to Rhodri Morgan First Minister of Wales saying:

“I write following concerns expressed publicly about the provision of psychiatric care to young persons held at Parc Prison in Wales.

I would ask, as a matter of urgency, what steps the Welsh Assembly government is taking to address these concerns?

The provision of adequate medical care is clearly set out as a standard to be attained by the Council of Europe Prisons Inspection body, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment.

The provision of adequate mental health services for prisoners is set out in paras 41-44 of the ‘CPT Standards’.

The Celtic League has periodically raised concerns about Parc prison in the past and I trust that the Assembly Government will move to address the serious deficiencies once again highlighted.”

Seven year earlier in October 2002 we expressed concern to the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture that conditions in some Welsh prisons failed to meet criteria set out in the UN ‘Beijing Rules’. It seems almost two decades on nothing has changed and the culture of official denial still persists.

Image: Parc Prison – Nine prisoners died at Parc in 2016, six from natural causes and three self-inflicted. In 2017 there were two deaths and one in January 2018

Bernard Moffatt

pp Celtic League

May 11th 2018

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