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(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); UK's most vulnerable and dangerous inmates live side by side in solitary - Algeria latest news

Solitary confinement, or segregation as it is known in British prisons, is used fairly sparingly in prisons in England and Wales, according to the European Prison Observatory.

The total segregation capacity of prisons in England and Wales was 1,586 cells in 2015, including 54 places in “close supervision centres”, which house some of the most dangerous men in the system. Not every prison has a segregation unit.

British penal practice differs from that of many other European countries in that segregation units are used not only to isolate inmates for reasons of order and discipline, but also to separate vulnerable prisoners who are at risk of self-harm or harm from others.

More than a third of 50 prisoners interviewed for a 2015 Prison Reform Trust (PRT) study, Deep Custody, said they had deliberately engineered a move into segregation in order to escape violence or lack of discipline on general prison wings or to raise concerns about their treatment and conditions.

The PRT study found that almost one in 10 prisoners had spent at least one night in segregation, which it described as “complex places where some of the prison’s most challenging individuals are confined alongside some of the most vulnerable people, within a small enclosed space”.

The specialist close supervision centres (CSCs), or “prisons within a prison”, are sometimes referred as “a secret world within the high-security estate” and described as “like a submarine”, with little light and austere cages for exercise yards.

Prisoners’ complaints about their isolation are often couched in terms of mental torture. A recent prison inspectors’ report highlighted concerns about potential mental health problems and the disproportionate number of black and Muslim men held in the system, but also described the humanity and care of staff as impressive.

The report concluded that CSCs provided the means to manage the most dangerous men in a way that minimised the risks to others, while offering them decent and safe basic conditions.

The PRT report said those in the more general segregation units also experienced a combination of social isolation, inactivity and increased control that was proven to harm mental health and wellbeing.

The average stay in CSCs is more than 40 months, but the overwhelming majority – 71% – of those on the general units spend less than 14 days in segregation.

They often endure impoverished regimes comprising little more than a short period of exercise, a shower, a phone call and meals. The 20 to 30 minutes of exercise is well short of the UN’s Mandela rules, which require a minimum of 60 minutes.

Tag(s) : #Europe

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