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  • Sat, 17 Nov 2018 18:03:19 +0000: Prisoner who killed himself 'told staff voices were telling him to do so' - Prisons and probation | The Guardian

    Michael Berry, 27, died two days after he was remanded in HMP Bedford, report says

    A mentally ill prisoner who killed himself after spending two days in jail had told staff he was finding it hard to ignore the “voices” telling him to do so, a report has found.

    Michael Berry, 27, was deemed to be “high risk” when he was remanded at HMP Bedford in March 2017, appearing “distressed, hopeless, teary and prone to acting impulsively”, the report notes. Berry was in a “fragile” state and detoxifying from heroin and crack cocaine use.

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  • Fri, 16 Nov 2018 11:30:02 +0000: I had my baby in prison, so I know how jails are risking mothers’ lives | Anonymous - Prisons and probation | The Guardian

    I have never felt so alone. To the staff, you are just another face, another number – and they don’t think about your baby

    I was 16 weeks pregnant when I was sent to prison. When I arrived with my maternity notes in hand, I was left locked in a small room with 16 other women. I complained to the guard that I felt sick. Her response was: “Get used to it.” I proceeded to be sick all over myself.

    Related: In prison I saw the futility of locking up women for minor crimes | Vicky Pryce

    Related: Reforming female prisons will break the cycle of crime: my work shows this | Phillip Lee

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  • Tue, 13 Nov 2018 14:50:02 +0000: Prisoners create war memorial outside their Wiltshire jail - Prisons and probation | The Guardian

    Erlestoke inmates collaborate with Salisbury cathedral stonemasons on monument

    Prisoners have collaborated with stonemasons to create a war memorial that will stand behind the razor-wire topped fences of their jail.

    Twenty inmates from Erlestoke prison, in Wiltshire, designed the memorial together with seven masons from Salisbury cathedral, who then carved it out of a block of limestone from a quarry close to the gates of the facility.

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  • Tue, 13 Nov 2018 06:00:36 +0000: Female prisoners in England left to give birth without midwife, report reveals - Prisons and probation | The Guardian

    Exclusive: research reveals lack of proper medical care for pregnant women and babies in some prisons

    Women are giving birth in prison cells without access to proper medical care, according to a startling report shared with the Guardian.

    Concerns for the welfare of pregnant women and their babies are raised by a detailed report into experiences in three prisons that highlights cases of women giving births in cells without a midwife present, including one where the baby was premature and born feet-first.

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  • Sat, 10 Nov 2018 14:59:42 +0000: Writing to prisoners unlocks more than you would think - Prisons and probation | The Guardian

    Prison letters are a treasure trove of stories – filled with both honesty and humour

    Eight years ago, I saw a job ad on a local website. A small charity was looking for a PR officer. The ad was brief, but it struck me as sweet. In it, they said that through yoga and meditation, they offered hope and healing to prisoners. I liked the sound of that. Unfortunately, I had no experience at all in the criminal justice sector, and I had also never done yoga and meditation. When they asked me why I wanted the job I said that I wanted to leave work each day feeling as if I’d made the world a little bit better rather than a little bit worse. I still work there today.

    On my first day I was sent to the filing cabinet room and told to have a look through some of the old correspondence to get an idea of how the letter-writing element of the charity worked. It was a treasure trove of stories – conversations between a prisoner and a letter-writing volunteer stretching over years, occasionally decades in some cases. The things that the prisoners wrote really jumped off the page – they were sad or angry, or despairing, or filled with excitement and hope about the future. They were often very funny. And they were honest. I had never encountered that level of honesty in conversation before – and I haven’t since.

    Knowing my card is the only one a person receives is bittersweet

    One man I write to starts each letter with 'grab yourself a brew and a biscuit!' and I do

    Sometimes I sign my name with a kiss without thinking

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