High court grants permission in challenge to high prison suicide rate

25.11.16 | |

 

The High Court has given permission for the families of two men who took their own lives in HMP Woodhill to proceed with legal action to force the prison to take steps to prevent further deaths.

 

HMP Woodhill has seen the highest number of self-inflicted deaths of any prison in England and Wales over the past two years. A total of 17 men have taken their own lives in the prison since May 2013 - six so far this year.

 

The case was brought by relatives of Ian Brown, who took his own life at HMP Woodhill on 19 July 2015 and Daniel Dunkley, who was found hanging in his cell on 29 July 2016 and died four days later in hospital. 

 

The family members claim is against the governor of the prison and the Secretary of State for Justice. The family argue that they have acted unlawfully by failing to take appropriate steps to reduce the rate of suicide at HMP Woodhill. The families are asking the court to order the defendants to take action to try to prevent further suicides.

 

In granting permission, Mr Justice Lavender said that reports into the prison revealed “repeated failure, despite earlier recommendations, to implement applicable policies” and said this could not be dismissed as “operational failures”. 

 

The claimants are represented by Jo Eggleton of Deighton Pierce Glynn and Adam Straw of Doughty Street Chambers.

 

Press coverage in The Guardian.

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