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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Review of women prisoners ordered
Styal Prison
Six inmates died at HMP Styal in Cheshire within a 12-month period
The government has ordered a review into the treatment of vulnerable women within the criminal justice system.

It follows the deaths of six inmates at Styal Prison, near Wilmslow, Cheshire, in a 12-month period from August 2002.

It will look at facilities and support for women with mental illnesses, drug addictions and other problems.

Pauline Campbell, whose daughter Sarah died at HMP Styal, has been campaigning for a full independent inquiry into prisoner deaths at the prison.

Sarah Campbell, a formerly heroin dependent who suffered from clinical depression, was jailed for manslaughter in January 2003 - a day later she was dead after taking an overdose of anti-depressants.

'Risk factors'

"When the six women died at Styal Prison, there had prior to that been a chief inspector of prisons' report on Styal detailing the problems at the prison," said Pauline Campbell on Wednesday.

"The prison had failed to act on the recommendations of that report and then we had six deaths followed by another chief inspector of prisons' report criticising the fact that they hadn't implemented the recommendations."

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Fiona Mactaggart, has ordered the review, which will be led by former MP and barrister, Baroness Jean Corston.

Ms Mactaggart said it would complement rather than replicate the work under way.

"The review will be focused on those women in whom a multitude of risk factors coexist and which could lead them to harm themselves in prison," she said.

The government has asked for a progress report by the end of June and for the final report by the end of the year.

The review comes after a report, published in November by prison ombudsman Steven Shaw into the deaths at Styal, called for action after finding staff did not stop prisoners stealing dangerous medicines.

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