INQUEST is calling for urgent action to save lives by ending the inappropriate use of imprisonment for women, closing women's prisons and redirecting resources from criminal justice into community-based services.

"Emily was struggling with her mental health from her early teens. She was sent to prison after she had a psychotic episode and set fire to herself, her mattress and curtains. There are many others like Emily who find it hard to cope with an illness. They need care and support, not a prison sentence." Lynne Roscoe, grandmother of Emily Hartley who died in HMP New Hall in 2016

"If Sarah had received the right care and support, rather than punishment, then she would still be alive. The whole system has to change so that other women don’t die." Marilyn Reed, mother of Sarah Reed who died in HMP Holloway in 2016


In May 2018 INQUEST published Still Dying on the Inside. The report includes the stories of women who have died in prison and puts forward the following recommendations;  

  1. Redirect resources from criminal justice to welfare, health, housing and social care.
  2. Divert women away from the criminal justice system.
  3. Halt prison building and commit to an immediate reduction in the prison population.
  4. Review sentencing decisions and policy.
  5. Urgently review the deaths of women following release from prison.
  6. Ensure access to justice and learning for bereaved families.
  7. Build a national oversight mechanism for implementing official recommendations.

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Download sTILL DYING ON THE INSIDE (2018) 


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BANNER IMAGE CREDIT: 'Perception’ by artist Charlotte Nokes who died in HMP Peterborough in 2016. Charlotte won several Koestler prizes for her art and described herself as the ‘the artist in residence’.