"Troubled Inside" is the name of
a conference organised in 2004 by Mind (mental health charity) and the Prison
Reform Trust to look at the vulnerability of many males in prison (UK). This
was followed by a report of the same name in 2005. The results (see links
below) were pretty shocking. The two organisations had already earlier carried
out the same research into the vulnerability of many females in prison.
In 2005 there was also a study carried out by Dr Seena Fazel (University
of Oxford), which found that men are 5 times more likely to commit suicide
in prison than outside of it. Young offenders aged between 15 and 17, are
18 times more likely to commit suicide in prison than they are outside of
it (see link below).
This is all evidence that the vulnerability of many male prisoners needs
addressing just as much as the vulnerability of many female prisoners. Yet
both the media and politicians are choosing to ignore the needs of male prisoners.
There has been proposals to send only violent women to prison, with alternatives
to prison for all other female offenders (see links below). These alternatives
do not seem to include vulnerable male prisoners. In fact, with suggestions
of making the empty women's prisons into men's prisons, and the three "Titan"
prisons suggested to be built in the UK, it seems as if there will be more
males behind bars than ever soon.
This discrimination (in particular where suicide by prisoners is concerned)
would seem to breach European human rights legislation however.
The European Convention on Human Rights states:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment
The mental torture of prisoners who are so unable to face imprisonment that
they will kill themselves seems to be covered by this. The link below is a
report by a House of Lords/Commons joint committee discussing this matter.
I note there is no mention of gender here:
Also, the European Convention on Human Rights states:
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this convention
shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.