I am going to Geneva to give oral evidence to the Committee against Torture on how the UK government fails to uphold its obligations. The Howard League submitted written evidence to the committee to inform its questioning of the government on Tuesday.
I did some television interviews on Bedford prison last week, discussing the inspection report that had revealed a prison in turmoil. The inspectorate found conditions in the prison to be so dangerous that it took the rare step last year of invoking the Urgent Notification protocol to demand immediate action. The inspection report was finally published on 22 January and it makes for desperately awful reading.
We get notifications when people die in prisons. Over the years we have monitored the number of people dying by suicide, through natural causes and due to homicide. In the last three years the number of deaths that appear to be unexplained has soared, and I think there is something quite different happening inside prisons that no one has really grasped.
Feltham prison holds boys and young adults. It has a terrible history, and because it is on the outskirts of London and is one of the biggest child jails it has drawn more public attention than other prisons holding children, but its story is similar to many other institutions that hold children in trouble.