Target: Liz Truss, U.K. Secretary of State for Justice
Goal: Improve overcrowding, understaffing and quality of life in U.K. prisons to decrease the high inmate suicide rate.
Prisons in England and Wales have seen 102 inmate suicides this year, equal to one suicide every three days. This is a record high since 1978. These suicides are happening during a time of overcrowding, understaffing and unjust living conditions in these prisons. Demand officials enact solutions to these problems to help alleviate the issue of inmate suicides.
Prison staff staged a walkout earlier this month to draw attention to the horrific conditions in the prisons. Staff cuts and crammed prisons have led to a plethora of issues, including an increase in violence.
Activists say the quality of life in prisons is a major cause of the high inmate suicide rate. Many inmates aren’t given adequate meals, social time, mental and physical activities, contact with their families or permission to keep sentimental belongings.
Just because someone was convicted of a crime does not mean they should be completely robbed of their humanity to the point that they feel suicide is the only escape. Prisoners are human beings who deserve empathy and compassion, and at the very least deserve a basic quality of life. Demand that officials work to decrease the record inmate suicide rate by improving understaffing and overcrowding and giving prisoners a better quality of life.
Dear Secretary Truss,
Activists and families are criticizing conditions in prisons in England and Wales after inmate suicides have reached a record high. This is alarming and must be addressed immediately. Staff cuts create more pressure on limited prison staff to handle overcrowded prisons. On top of living in cramped facilities, these prisoners have a poor quality of life where they are treated inhumanely. This creates problems on top of problems.
Prisoners should not have to feel pushed to suicide because of their living conditions. I demand you improve prison conditions by hiring more staff, releasing prisoners of smaller, non-violent crimes to free up space, and improve quality of life by providing acceptable meals, activity time, social time, and family contact for inmates.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Drew Duncan