10TH MARCH 2017

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".