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Friday, July 02, 2010

Welcome to the ‘body bag club’

Welcome to the ‘body bag club’

Harry Bannermann - HMP Wakefield

In most British prisons there are old men in their late sixties and seventies, at least three-quarters of them very ill and years over tariff. They could never re-offend and the vast majority would not want to.

The prisons are overcrowded and the government doesn’t really know what to do about it; when really it is there for them to see because these elderly prisoners could easily be controlled outside of prison for a lot less expense than it costs to keep them inside; and would release a big hold in the overcrowding and not fill the courts up again, therefore saving further government expense.

We all know why they are not being released; they are easy to control, so prisons hang on to them using the excuse that if they do not do the prison programmes, even if they are incapable of doing them, ignoring the fact they are supposed to be voluntary, the government say they will not be released.

Yet over the years I have seen healthy, hard to control weightlifters pushed through the system without doing any programmes at all and who are now out of prison.

At least a third of Wakefield residents come under the category of the ‘body bag club’. They are well over tariff, very ill and disabled. Lots are in wheelchairs and it’s costing the government a small fortune to keep them in prison. A hell of a lot more than it costs to keep a normal healthy inmate. So this means there are more
deaths per year in Wakefield than any other prison in the country! Men that will never see their families ever again and the government will probably have to finance the burials too.

One might say this is an inhumane practice and should be looked into before inmates take it into their own hands and take the problem to the Court of Human Rights, which could mean yet another large financial price the government will have to pay.

n.b. Source: Mailbag, Inside Time, July 2010.

Photo: Scrape TV

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Whose responsibility?

Name & address supplied

Can Inside Time tell me who is responsible for
claiming the body of a prisoner who dies
whilst in prison custody?

Ministry of Justice writes

When a prisoner dies in custody the death is
reported to the Police and the local Coroner. A post mortem is then held to try to establish the exact cause of death; after which the Coroner will usually release the body so that a funeral may take place.

National policy covering the payment of funeral expenses is contained in paragraph
4.29 of Prison Service Order 2710 ‘Follow up to Deaths in Custody’. When a prisoner dies, the prison must offer to pay reasonable funeral expenses and a contribution of up to £3,000 is usually made. This payment is normally made directly to the funeral directors.

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