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INQUEST, the independent charity providing expertise on state related deaths, as this month published an extensive report into deaths of people following custody. The report provides a thorough analysis of official data published by the Ministry of Justice to give an overview of what is known about the deaths of people on post custody supervision following release from prison. It highlights the lack of visibility and policy attention given to this growing problem and calls for immediate action to ensure greater scrutiny, learning and prevention. The report also makes reference to the lack of ‘through the gate’ support for offenders as a result of TR and the link between death after custody.
In the forward to the report, INQUEST highlights the increasing concern about the rising numbers of deaths of people on post custody supervision.
It says: “Deaths have been rising for a number of years, coinciding with the introduction of the Offender Rehabilitation Act in 2014. These increases have outstripped a rise in caseload and reflect the catastrophic impact of changes to the probation service. Women under probation supervision appear to be at significantly greater risk of taking their own lives.”
The report concludes that the figures are deeply disturbing and require urgent scrutiny.
“Without this, we cannot fully understand what is happening or how it could be addressed. What is clear however is that people are being released into failing support systems, poverty, homelessness and an absence of services for mental health and addictions. This is state abandonment.”