From Pauline Campbell
Prison-death demonstration – Tuesday 5 February 2008
to protest against the death of the young mother Lisa Marley, aged 32, who died on 23 January 2008 while on ‘suicide watch’ and on remand at Styal Prison, Cheshire
– the 28th demonstration to be held outside women’s prisons in England since protests began in April 2004;
– Pauline Campbell arrested for the 15th time;
– charged in the early hours of Wednesday 6 February 2008, and bailed to appear in court on Wednesday 27 February 2008.
A small group of protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside Styal Prison, during the afternoon of Tuesday 5 February 2008, to protest against the tragic death of the young mother Lisa Marley, aged 32, who died in the care of HMP and YOI Styal on 23 January 2008.
Ms Marley was on remand at the time of her death. A person held on remand is legally innocent until proven guilty.
Protesters, from Shropshire, Cheshire, and Greater Manchester, included representatives from FRFI Manchester (Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!)
Lisa Marley is the first woman to die from apparently self-inflicted injuries in women’s jails so far this year.
Governor (F grade) Carol Williams, and Principal Officer Mark Whitehead, emerged from the jail and spoke to Pauline Campbell at the prison gates, but said they were unable to comment on Lisa Marley’s death. They expressed condolences over the death of Sarah Campbell, adding they were not at Styal in 2003 when Sarah died. Ms Williams took an envelope into the prison for Governor Steve Hall, enclosing a demonstration leaflet and two INQUEST leaflets, in the hope that the information is passed to the grieving family.
Lisa Marley is the sixth woman to die in the care of Styal Prison since Sarah Campbell’s death in January 2003. Both Lisa and Sarah were on ‘suicide watch’ when they died.
Forty-one women have died in women’s jails in England (including Lisa Marley) since Sarah’s death on 18 January 2003.
The demonstration, attended by reporters and photographers, was covered by local radio stations.
Protesters handed out leaflets to visitors to the jail. Banners were displayed, and flowers laid in memory of Lisa and, at the end of the afternoon, a memorial placard was left at the prison entrance. (See below for details of arrest and charge.)
The arrest and charge (Incident No. 173, Cheshire Constabulary; 05.02.08)
At 1505 hrs, a GSL prison van MV04 KJJ was stopped by protesters as it attempted to enter the prison. Minutes later, another prison van MV04 KKG, was forced to stop behind the first vehicle.
Cheshire Constabulary officers from Wilmslow and Macclesfield arrived on the scene. It was explained to both the police and the prison van drivers that in view of the recent death at Styal, protesters considered the jail to be unsafe, and a request was made for the women to be taken to a place of safety.
At 1525 hrs Pauline Campbell was arrested for obstructing the highway, handcuffed, taken by police car to Wilmslow Police Station, then transferred to a GSL cellular van, locked in a cell with no seat belts, and taken to Middlewich police custody suite.
Detention was authorised at 1700 hrs.
On Wednesday 6 February 2008, at 0042 hrs, Pauline Campbell was charged: “On 05.02.08 at Wilmslow in the County of Cheshire, without lawful authority or excuse, wilfully obstructed the free passage along a highway, namely Styal Road, Styal, contrary to Section 137(1) of the Highways Act 1980.”
The reply to the charge, logged in police records was: “Wilfully taking women into Styal Prison, when Lisa Marley only died there two weeks ago, is shameful.”
Unconditional bail granted; court appearance: Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court, Wednesday 27 February 2008, 0915 hrs.
Released from custody: Wednesday 6 February 2008, 0050 hrs.
“Being held in police custody for over nine hours, locked in a dirty police cell for most of the time (and I did complain about that) does not deter me. For daring to protest against the death of a young mother, the criminal justice system again seeks to criminalise and punish me. I am not alone in thinking that this is vindictive.
“While held in police custody, I was allowed to speak on the telephone to my solicitor at Hickman and Rose, London, and later to the local duty solicitor. The nurse who examined me was of the opinion that my raised blood pressure was caused by anger and distress.
“Distress not only about Lisa Marley’s death, but the knowledge that her child is now motherless. My own mother died when I was aged three years, so I understand the deep sense of loss this innocent child will suffer.
“My message to Ministers is: stop the rhetoric, and get on with the action. Stop the shilly-shallying, and show some moral leadership for once. Implement the Corston recommendations, and shelve the plans for ‘titan’ jails, then perhaps young mothers like Lisa Marley wouldn’t die.” [Pauline Campbell]
Photos of the demonstration, including the arrest, are available from freelance photographer Guy Smallman; web tel 07956 429059.
Charitable/non-profit publications are not generally charged, but a by-line must be given.
(1) Figures refer to apparently self-inflicted deaths, England and Wales. (There are no women’s prisons in Wales.)
(2) INQUEST press release, 25 January 2008: “INQUEST dismayed by first death of a woman in prison this year”
[Bereaved mother of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, 18, who died in the so-called care of Styal Prison, 2003]
Trustee of The Howard League for Penal Reform
Awarded The 2005 Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize
6 February 2008