Our Human Dustbins

600 dead in custody in 2006, one third of which were suicides. Pauline Campbell alerted me to the Guardian sub headline as she continues to demonstrate after the deaths of women in “the care” of HM Prison (privatised) “service”. BBC Report including Pauline Campbell’s comments.
Here is Pauline’s report of her second demonstration at HMP Send this year”:
Prison-death demonstration – Thursday 20 September 2007
to protest against the tragic death of the young mother Lisa Doe, aged 25
who died on 11 September 2007 while in the care of HMP Send, Surrey
(1) The protest on 20 September 2007 was the 26th demonstration to be held since protests began in April 2004.
(2) Lisa Doe is the seventh woman to die in prison so far this year.
(3) The appalling death toll: 39 women prisoners * (including Lisa Doe) have died since Sarah Campbell’s death in 2003. Lessons are not being learned.
( * 12 women died after Sarah Campbell in 2003; 13 died in 2004; 4 died in 2005; 3 died in 2006; 7 deaths so far this year = 39)
[Figures refer to apparently self-inflicted deaths; England and Wales]
REPORT
A small group of protesters held a peaceful 3-hour demonstration outside HMP Send and, for part of the afternoon, were joined by two relatives of Ms Lisa Doe, who laid flowers in memory of their loved one.
At 2 pm, Mr Andy Peacock, Head of Reducing Reoffending (Duty Governor for the day) emerged from the jail, and spoke to protesters, but said he was unable to comment on Ms Doe’s death.
At 3.45 pm, a Serco prison van (BW04 VZH) was stopped as it attempted to enter the jail. The driver was informed that protesters considered the jail to be unsafe, in view of the recent death, and he was asked to take the women to a place of safety.
Surrey Police were summoned to the prison. Officers 1905 and 2751 attended; sergeant 1905 indicated that Section 14, Public Order Act 1986, would be invoked if the prisoner transport van was not allowed to proceed into the jail. The Serco vehicle was eventually allowed to enter the prison, and no arrests were made.
A number of visitors to the jail spoke to protesters, and expressed concern about the physical and mental wellbeing of their loved ones held in HMP Send.
The Conservative MP for Mole Valley, Sir Paul Beresford, was invited to attend the demonstration, but did not respond to the invitation.
The protest was attended by Sky Television; local reporters and photographers, and was also covered by local radio.
At the end of the afternoon, protesters left bouquets of flowers and a memorial placard at the prison entrance, in memory of Ms Doe.
COMMENT
“Another woman has died, and another family is left to grieve.
“This latest death at HMP Send brings into sharp focus the prison’s custodial care record. Two young mothers have lost their lives at Send Prison this year: Emma Kelly on 19 April 2007, and Lisa Doe on 11 September 2007. It is particularly worrying that both women were on ‘suicide watch’ when they died.
“Courts must act responsibly and stop sending women, many with psychiatric and drug-dependency problems, to the punitive regime of a prison, when they are in need of treatment and care. Unless and until this inhuman practice stops, more families will have to deal with the tremendous pain and anger resulting from the death of their loved ones.” [Pauline Campbell]
PHOTOGRAPHS
Photos of the demonstration are available from freelance photographer Guy Smallman.
(Charitable/non-profit publications are not generally charged, but a by-line must be given.)
The demonstration was also attended by a freelance video journalist; anyone wanting contact details – please e-mail me.
Pauline Campbell
[Bereaved mother of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, 18, who died while on ‘suicide watch’ in the care of Styal Prison, 2003]
Trustee of The Howard League for Penal Reform
Awarded The 2005 Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize


Meanwhile the CPS continues to take Pauline to court as the result of her protests. Here is her update on that story.
FINAL REMINDER – DETAILS OF CRIMINAL TRIAL
Defendant: Pauline Campbell
Venue: North Avon Magistrates Court, Kennedy Way, Yate, Nr Bristol, BS37 4PY; telephone 01454 310505
Date and time: Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 September 2007; commencing at 10.00 am on the first day
Trial Judge: District Judge David Parsons
Defending Barrister: Mr Peter Thornton QC, head of Doughty Street Chambers, who has kindly agreed to represent me pro-bono.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Background to case
Arrest and charge occurred on 24 January 2007, outside HMP & YOI Eastwood Park, Gloucestershire, at a prison-death demonstration to protest against the death of the young mother Caroline Powell, aged 26, who died on 5 January 2007 in the care of the jail. Ms Powell was on remand (and therefore legally innocent) when she died. She has left behind five motherless children.
(See previous e-mail dated 20 August 2007 for further details; anyone wanting another copy, please e-mail me.)
Link for prison inspection report on HMP & YOI Eastwood Park
Prison inspection at Eastwood Park Prison: 7-9 March 2006;
Home Office press release dated 5 September 2006: “there had been no co-ordinated learning from previous deaths in custody”. Previous prison-death demonstrations: HMP & YOI Eastwood Park
22 June 2005 – to protest against the death of Justine Rees, 32, who died in the care of the jail on 4 June 2005; nil arrests.
18 October 2006 – to protest against the death of Lisa Ann Woodhall, 28, who died in the care of the jail on 8 October 2006. Pauline Campbell arrested and charged with: (i) obstructing or disrupting lawful activity; (ii) aggravated trespasser failing to leave land when directed by police to leave. After one court appearance, CPS dropped the case; reason given: “there is not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction” (CPS letter dated 6 December 2006).
DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE THE COURT BUILDING
A demonstration will be held outside North Avon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 26 September 2007, commencing 9.30 am; organised by the ‘No More Prison’ campaign group.
COMMENT
“This prosecution in the criminal court is a waste of public money, and a waste of the court’s time. Furthermore, the court knows I am a grieving mother, yet seeks to criminalise and punish me for protesting against the deaths of women who have died in the ‘care’ of the State. And it is an affront to the principle of access to justice that I have been denied legal aid. I feel that this prosecution is vindictive.
“As at today’s date (19.09.07) a further six women* have died in the ‘care’ of women’s prisons since Caroline Powell’s death on 5 January 2007.” [Pauline Campbell]
* apparently self-inflicted deaths; England & Wales
Note: Anyone planning to attend the trial, who wishes to check that the case is still proceeding, can telephone the court on the above number, any time up until the morning of 26 October 2007.
Pauline Campbell

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