Why the delay in publication of report into deaths in custody?
A broad coalition of groups including the Runnymede Trust, INQUEST, Liberty, Women in Prison and the Justice Gap is calling on the home secretary to publish an independent report into deaths in custody.
In January last year, Sarah Reed was found dead in her cell at Holloway prison. You can read an interview with her mother Marylin in the Guardian here. She had been the victim of a notorious police brutality case in 2012 and suffered mental health issues known to prison officers, doctors, social workers, lawyers and police. You can read about the campaign (here).
You can read Zita Holbourne of BARAC on the Justice Gap from February last year on Sarah Reed here
Sarah Reed was the victim of British institutions that failed in their duty of care towards her, she was failed by hospitals, by the Met Police, by the judicial system, the mental health system, by the courts and by the prison.
The Guardian published the following letter today (read here):
The inquest into Sarah Reed’s death begins on Tuesday. She was found dead in her cell in Holloway prison in London in January 2016 and her relatives will be expecting answers on the level of care she received and her wider treatment by public authorities. In 2012 Sarah was the victim of an assault by a police officer, an experience which aggravated her mental health issues.
The government has accepted that deaths in custody need further scrutiny. Two years ago Theresa May, as home secretary, commissioned an independent review on police custody deaths, including investigating racial disproportionality. The review’s report was due for publication over a year ago.
Until last week the government website on this independent review stated the report will be published “in the summer of 2016”. The continued and unexplained delays suggest the government is holding back on publishing the report.
We therefore call on home secretary Amber Rudd to immediately release the report of the independent review into deaths in police custody.
Families have been calling for transparency and justice on deaths in custody for decades. By releasing the report of the independent review the government can begin to convince bereaved families that it is committed to transparency and justice for the families affected by deaths in custody.
Dr Omar Khan Director, Runnymede Trust
Martha Spurrier Director, Liberty
Daniel Machover Chair, Inquest
Kate Paradine CEO, Women in Prison
Sarah Hughes CEO, Centre for Mental Health
Sam Gurney Head of equality and strategy, Trades Union Congress
Sarah Green Co-Director, End Violence Against Women Coalition
Paul Farmer CEO, Mind
Professor Darrick Jolliffe Former research adviser to the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody
Leroy Logan Former chief superintendent (retired)
Duwayne Brooks Stop-and-search consultant
Frances Crook CEO, Howard League for Penal Reform
Siana Bangura Freelance journalist
Donald Peter Herbert Former Metropolitan Police Authority member
Ilyas Nagdee Black Students’ Officer, National Union of Students
Lord Herman Ouseley Independent crossbench, House of Lords
Mark Serwotka General secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union
Zita Holbourne National chair, Barac UK
Jerome Phelps Director, Detention Action
Jon Robins The Justice Gap
Dr Wanda Wyporska Executive director, The Equality Trust
Andy Gregg CEO, Race on the Agenda
Lee Jasper Former adviser on policing in London
Ken Fero Migrant Media
Louise King Director, Children’s Rights Alliance for England
Simon Woolley Director, Operation Black Vote
Yvonne MacNamara Chief executive, the Traveller Movement
Zoe Matthews Co-director, Friends Families and Travellers
Lisa Matthews Coordinator, Right to Remain
Alan Anstead Coordinator, UK Race and Europe Network
Tracey Lazard CEO, Inclusion London
Patrick Vernon Social commentator, film-maker and publisher
Professor Robbie Shilliam Professor in international relations
Sado Jirde Director, Black South West Network
Nadeem Murtuji Chair, Just Yorkshire
Estelle du Boulay Director, Rights of Women
Patricia Lamour Aspire Education Group
Author: Jon Robins
Jon is editor of the Justice Gap. He is a freelance journalist. Jon’s books include The First Miscarriage of Justice (Waterside Press, 2014), The Justice Gap (LAG, 2009) and People Power (Daily Telegraph/LawPack, 2008). Jon is a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln. He is twice winner of the Bar Council’s journalism award (2015 and 2005) and is shortlisted for this year’s Criminal Justice Alliance’s journalism award