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INQUEST have found that in 2018/19, ten people died each week following release from prison and every two days, someone took their own life. This is a six fold increase in suicide among those on post-custody supervision from 24 in 2010-11 to 153 in 2018-19, according to the Guardian. Director of INQUEST, Deborah Coles, has described these figures as ‘deeply disturbing’, stating that they require ‘urgent scrutiny’.

A report has been co-authored by Dr Jack Phillips of Sheffield Hallam University, and Rebecca Roberts of INQUEST, providing an overview of deaths whilst on post-custody supervision following release from prison. The report demonstrates the lack of policy attention afforded to this growing issue and recommends the following:

  • That the government should proceed with its national review of deaths of people on post-release supervision;
  • That more detailed and accurate data should be made available;
  • That deaths of people on post-custody supervision should be investigated by an independent body with adequate resources;
  • That scrutiny and learning is improved.

The report found that these figures have risen following the introduction of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014. People are being released into failing support systems, poverty, homelessness and an absence of services for mental health and addiction. Deborah Coles describes this as ‘state abandonment’.

The report also argues that there is a case to be made that post-release deaths may engage Article 2 of the Human Rights Act, even where the deceased was not resident in an approved premises.

If you sadly have a family member who has died following release from custody, our Injury team at Ramsdens can help. We represent families at Inquests, and have expertise in claims involving human rights. For a confidential discussion contact our inquest solicitors for support on 0113 887 1834. Alternatively, you can make an enquiry using our online enquiry form and we will be in touch when it is convenient for you.