12 October 2022
Despite decades of activism from bereaved people and their supporters, too often the deaths of racialised people in prison have been dismissed, and the role of racism has been overlooked and ignored.
INQUEST’s new report, Deaths of racialised people in prison 2015 – 2022: Challenging racism and discrimination, makes a powerful intervention as it uncovers new data and tells the stories of 22 racialised people and how they died preventable and premature deaths in prison.
The report specifically looks at the deaths of Black and mixed-race people; Asian and mixed-race people; Middle Eastern and mixed-race people; people of Eastern European nationality; White Irish people and White Gypsy or Irish Traveller people.
Through a literature review, an analysis of never before published data on ethnicity and deaths in prison, and an examination of the relevant inquests and investigations, the report evidences the role of institutional racism in the prison estate.
Key issues include the inappropriate use of segregation, racial stereotyping, the hostile environment, the neglect of physical and mental health, the failure to respond to warning signs, and the bullying and victimisation of racialised people.
INQUEST’s research exposes deeply concerning patterns affecting people from racialised groups, which contribute to premature and preventable deaths in prison. Despite the thematic issues these cases raise, post-death investigations and inquests are consistently silent on issues of racism and discrimination.
FULL REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
COVER IMAGE CREDIT: Look Through My Window, HM Prison Glenochil, Patrick Holmes Platinum. Award for Watercolour and Gouache, 2017. Image courtesy of Koestler Arts.