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International covenant on civil and political rights: conditions of detention In Wales

Jones, Robert, Series, Lucy ORCID: and Dehaghani, Roxanna ORCID: 2019. International covenant on civil and political rights: conditions of detention In Wales. [Technical Report]. Cardiff University.

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RIGHT TO LIFE & TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT AND CONDITIONS IN DETENTION The latest Welsh-only data relating to conditions in detention reveal the existence of an entrenched and widespread set of problems. In the prison estate, all prisons in Wales (except HMP Berwyn) are currently operating at a level above their Certified Normal Accommodation. 2018 saw incidents of self-harm reach record levels while assaults on prison staff and prisoneron-prisoner assaults have increased respectively by 375% and 435% since 2010. There have been 26 self-inflicted deaths recorded in Welsh prisons since 2010. On average, a prisoner in Wales takes their own life every four months. At a time when elderly prisoners have become the fastest growing demographic group in prison, inadequate prison healthcare and a rising number of ‘natural’ prison deaths are a cause of major concern. At HMP Usk, where 40% of prisoners are aged 50 and above, as many ‘natural’ recorded deaths have been recorded since 2013 than the previous 35 years combined. The number of self-harm incidents recorded at female prisons in England has increased by 81% since 2013. On average, there were nine self-harm incidents a day recorded at HMP Eastwood Park and HMP Styal in 2018. There have been five self-inflicted deaths recorded at HMP Eastwood Park (3) and HMP Styal (2) since 2010. Although the number of children held in custody has fallen steadily since 2010, the conditions inside the youth secure estate continue to be a source of major concern. In the year ending March 2018, self-harm incidents in the youth secure estate in England and Wales increased by 40% compared with the previous year. In 2017, HMYOI Parc in Bridgend recorded the highest self-harm rate amongst all Young Offender Institutions in England and Wales. In 2018, there were more children on children assaults per population recorded at HMYOI Parc than any other Young Offender Institution in England and Wales. Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW) recently identified a number of problems with the use of restraint on mental health patients in Wales. This includes “oppressive and intimidating' behaviour by staff as well as concerns about “excessive” use and duration of restraint by one facility. The data show that there were 48 uses of facedown restraint in Wales in 2017/18. Despite a concerted effort to uncover the Welsh context to conditions of detention there remain many gaps in the available data and, subsequently, many ‘known unknowns’. For example, it remains unclear how many self-harm incidents have taken place in police custody in Wales. In addition, although there are no immigration detention facilities in Wales, it is unknown how many people previously domiciled in Wales are currently being held in Immigration Detention Centres. A request for this information was refused by the Home Office on the basis of financial cost, despite the suggestion that they do hold some information on their database. Although a fairly clear and comprehensive picture of the conditions inside detention settings in Wales emerges from this report, gaps in the available information prevent us from telling the whole story. These shortcomings form a major part of our recommendations. DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY Health and social care are devolved in Wales, which results in differences in implementation and data gathering. The Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 (of which there is no equivalent in England) imposes new duties on local health boards and local authorities to improve support to mental health service users living in the community. The review of the Measure, published in 2015, was broadly positive. In 2018 there were 117 people with learning disabilities in NHS run mental health hospitals in Wales, however, this figure does not include people in independent hospitals or placed out of area in hospitals in England. There is also no official data on the length of hospital admission for people with learning disabilities in Wales, nor data on whether they are admitted informally or detained under the Mental Health Act (MHA) or the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). Wales has a higher proportion of informal admissions to NHS mental health hospitals when compared with England. A higher proportion of people with learning disabilities live with their families in Wales and a lower proportion live in supported accommodation in Wales, as compared with England and Scotland. Figures from 2017-18 suggest fewer people with learning disabilities were in supported living accommodation than in 2015-6, suggesting the needed transformation towards independent living is not occurring. It has been recognised that there is a need for stronger leadership in care and support for people with learning disabilities across local authorities and local Health Boards. Wales lacks a national programme of individualised review of people in assessment and treatment units. In contrast with England, the Welsh inspectorates have not adopted policies prohibiting the registration of new services that do not reflect best practice in supporting people with learning disabilities to live independently in the community. Local authorities and Local Health Boards who act as supervisory bodies under the DoLS are struggling to keep up with the demand for assessments. Statutory timescales are widely breached with the result that many people are detained in hospitals and care homes without the safeguards required by law. Moreover, it is not known how many people in Wales may be deprived of their liberty in settings outside the DoLS. In Wales, as in England, appeals against detention under the DoLS are very low. In 2020 the DoLS will be replaced by a new system for authorising deprivation of liberty: the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS). Whilst LPS are intended to be more flexible and ‘proportionate’ than the DoLS, there is concern that the LPS may fail to adequately protect human rights.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Wales Governance Centre (WGCES)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Cardiff University
Funders: Equality and Human Rights Commission
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 April 2020
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2023 01:06

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