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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 13:06 GMT
Changes ordered after prison deaths
Styal Prison
The report focuses on the death of Julie Walsh at Styal Prison
An investigation into six deaths at a women's prison has criticised the management and treatment of prisoners.

The inadequacies were uncovered by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman's report into Styal Prison, Cheshire.

Home Office Minister Paul Goggins revealed the findings in a statement on Friday.

The report follows the death of convicted thief Julie Walsh, 39, from Liverpool, from an overdose in August last year, and five other deaths at the prison since August 2002.

Every death in custody is a tragedy for the families left behind, and is deeply distressing for staff
Home Office Minister Paul Goggins
All the women died within their first month at Styal, with two dying a day after arriving at the prison.

Three of the inmates also had a history of mental health problems.

Mr Goggins said: "The ombudsman makes a number of recommendations about the regime and treatment of women prisoners, particularly those on the induction wing, where five of the six women died."

He said all of the report's recommendations had been accepted and were being acted upon.

"Every death in custody is a tragedy for the families left behind, and is deeply distressing for staff," he said.

"This report will make an invaluable contribution to the prevention of suicides among all prisoners within the system."

'Too little recreation'

Mental health treatment at the prison was also criticised and a review of security in the administration of medicines is being carried out at the prison following the investigation.

The report said: "The ombudsman criticises the regime on the wing, which has little association space off the landings. He reports that many women spend most of their time locked in cells, some of which are doubled up.

"Most meals are eaten in the cell and, apart from in-cell television, there are few means of occupying time, with the only recreational facilities being a bookcase and pool table."

The report is the first death in prison investigation conducted by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman who has taken over the responsibility from the Prison Service.




SEE ALSO:
'Take mentally ill out of jails'
20 Jan 04  |  Politics
Women prison suicides hit record
06 Jan 04  |  Politics
Women's prisons reform demand
15 Oct 03  |  Wales
Teenage prisoner dies in hospital
21 Jan 03  |  England


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