TO PROTEST AGAINST THE DEATH OF A WOMAN PRISONER
Lisa Doe, aged 25
died on Tuesday 11 September 2007, while in the care of HMP Send, Surrey
Demonstration will take place on Thursday 20 September 2007
at 1.30 pm, for the duration of the afternoon,
outside HMP Send, Ripley Road, Send, Surrey, GU23 7LJ
Banners will be displayed, and flowers laid in memory of Lisa
Reporters/photographers are welcome to attend
Lisa Doe, a mother, is the seventh woman to die in prison so far this year.
In 2006, three women died in the care of Her Majesty’s Prisons.
The demonstration will be led by Pauline Campbell, mother of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, 18, who collapsed, dying (while on ‘suicide watch’) at HMP Styal on 18 Jan 2003; Sarah died several hours later in hospital. See Guardian article.
The demonstration at HMP Send on 20 September 2007 will be the 26th demonstration to be held outside women’s prisons since protests began in 2004. To date, Pauline Campbell has been arrested 14 times.
Figures refer to apparently self-inflicted deaths, England and Wales (though there are no women’s prisons in Wales).
HMP SEND: PREVIOUS DEMONSTRATIONS
11 May 2004 – to protest against the death of Paige Tapp, 23, a severely depressed mother-of-two, who died in the care of Send Prison on 18 April 2004. Ms Tapp was on ‘suicide watch’ when she died. See: letter published in The Guardian, 15.10.04, from five grieving mothers (including Paige Tapp’s mum) – “Crisis in women’s prisons”.
9 May 2007 – to protest against the death of Emma Kelly, a 31-year-old mother, who died in the care of Send Prison on 19 April 2007. Ms Kelly was on ‘suicide watch’ when she died.
(1) BBC Online News report re Lisa Doe’s death, published 12.09.07.
(2) Labour has presided over a shameful increase in the number of women sent to jail. In 1997, when Labour took office, 2,629 women were imprisoned. Number of women and girls currently locked up: 4,390 (as at 07.09.07). Yet there has been no equivalent increase in the number of women committing offences, or of women committing more serious crimes.
(3) The Guardian, 13.03.07: “the number of women in prison has increased far more rapidly than the number of men: over the past decade there has been a 126% increase in the number of women in prison, compared with a 46% rise in men in jail”.
(4) The Corston Report (a report by Baroness Jean Corston of a review of women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system): ISBN 978-1-84726-177-9; published March 2007 – report was handed to Government in March 2007; Ministers have promised to respond by Autumn 2007. The Home Office-commissioned report calls for existing women’s prisons to be closed down, and replaced with a local network of small custodial units reserved only for those who are a danger to the public:
(5) All prison inmates are owed a legal duty of care.
(6) When a death occurs in State custody, the burden is on the detaining authorities to provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the death. In the absence of such explanation, Article 2 (right to life) is breached: European Convention on Human Rights [Human Rights Act 1998]. Information source: House of Lords, House of Commons, Joint Committee on Human Rights, “Deaths in Custody”, 3rd Report of Session 2004-05, Volume 1; ISBN 0 10 400573 4, published 14.12.04.
“The tragic death of the young mother Lisa Doe, so soon after the previous death at HMP Send, raises serious questions about the prison’s custodial care record.
“Thirty-nine women prisoners (including Lisa Doe) have died in the ‘care’ of the State since my daughter’s death in 2003. Lessons are not being learned. Who is responsible for this appalling death toll?
“In 2003, following my daughter’s death, I repeatedly called for an independent public inquiry: Two years later, I was informed that Government had rejected this in favour of conducting a review (by Baroness Corston).
“However, in the six months since the Corston Report was handed to Government, and while Ministers continue to deliberate, five women prisoners* have died. It is a shocking state of affairs.
“Instead of building 9,500 extra prison places, Government should increase provision for the mentally ill. Two out of three women in prison are mentally ill; prison exacerbates their difficulties. There is something cruel about sending sick people to a place of punishment.” [Pauline Campbell]
* 5 women prisoners:
Kerry Devereux (HMP Foston Hall; 18 April 2007)
Emma Kelly (HMP Send, 19 April 2007)
Helen Mary Cole (HMP Styal, 3 June 2007)
Marie Cox (HMP Holloway, 30 June 2007)
Lisa Doe (HMP Send, 11 September 2007)
USEFUL CONTACT DETAILS
www.inquest.org.uk – advice, policy, research re deaths in custody
The Howard League for Penal Reform
www.howardleague.org – the oldest penal reform charity in the UK
Pauline Campbell **
[Bereaved mother of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, 18, who died in the so-called care of HMP & YOI Styal, 2003]
Trustee of The Howard League for Penal Reform.
Awarded The 2005 Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize.