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INQUEST families give powerful testimony on mental health and deaths in prison to MPs and C4 News
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".
‘I very much admire the Co-Directors of INQUEST who have committed their professional lives to speaking up for bereaved families and helping them seeking justice for their loved ones.They work every day with the victims of tragic circumstances and I think we can all learn from their strength, tenacity and professionalism.’
– Katy Swaine, former Legal Director for Children’s Rights Alliance for England