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INQUEST families give powerful testimony on mental health and deaths in prison to MPs and C4 News
INQUEST this week gave evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights' Inquiry into Mental Health and Deaths in Prison, alongside the families of two prisoners who took their own lives while in custody.
Donna and Mark Saunders, the parents of Dean Saunders who died in HMP Chelmsford in 2016, and Sheila Waplington and Marlene Danter, the mother and aunt of Diane Waplington, who died in HMP Peterborough in 2014, were accompanied by our director, Deborah Coles, and caseworker, Selen Cavcav.
In moving testimony to the cross-party committee of MPs, the families spoke powerfully about the way the criminal justice system criminalised their relatives for having mental health difficulties.
Sheila Waplington and Deborah Coles later appeared in a Channel 4 News report on the deaths of women in prison. A total of 12 women took their own lives in prison last year - a record high. Sheila said her daughter was "criminalised for being ill".
‘You have clearly made yourselves a force to be reckoned with, a powerful instrument for good. In the process you have not only achieved real change in an aspect of our common life which would have commanded little attention or esteem were it not for your efforts, but you have at the same time offered enormous support to those bereaved people who long for a clear verdict on the death in custody of someone who means a great deal to them.’
– Dr Peter Selby, President of the National Council for Independent Monitoring Boards