Prison death sparks review calls
A CHARITY has called for a review of procedures at a Suffolk prison after a second female prisoner was found dead in her cell in little over a week.April Sherman, 27, from Bury St Edmunds, was found hanging by a ligature at Edmunds Hill Prison, near Haverhill, Suffolk, on Tuesday night .
A CHARITY has called for a review of procedures at a Suffolk prison after a second female prisoner was found dead in her cell in little over a week.
April Sherman, 27, from Bury St Edmunds, was found hanging by a ligature at Edmunds Hill Prison, near Haverhill, Suffolk, on Tuesday night .
Miss Sherman was on remand at the prison after allegedly wounding her boyfriend earlier this month.
Her death is the second at the Suffolk prison in just ten days after staff found the body of 37-year-old Tina Bromley in her cell.
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Assistant director for The Howard League for Penal Reform Anita Dockley said: "We need to understand what is going on and that is why we are so keen to have public inquiries in prison deaths so lessons can be learnt.
"To have two women commit suicide so early in 2004 is extremely sad and this should make the prison service think about their policies and procedures.
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"The Howard League is extremely concerned about the number of woman committing suicides in prisons.
"We are also concerned about the use of prisons for women and we are calling for the prison population to be reduced as what we are currently seeing is a system fit to burst.
"We are in constant dialogue with the prison service and Home Office ministers telling them what we feel about this issue."
A spokeswoman for the prison service said that Ms Sherman had been on remand at the prison since January 5 on charges of wounding and causing grievous bodily harm.
She added: "A prison service investigation will begin as soon as possible. Every death in custody is a tragedy and our sympathies are with April's family. She was found hanging by a ligature from her cell bars."
Patricia Cave, chairman of the Independent Monitoring Board, said: "Our enormous sympathies go out to the family of the girl concerned and we will no await the outcome of the inquiry.
"I have nothing but admiration for the professional and caring way the staff handled the matter."
Suffolk police confirmed Miss Sherman had been arrested and subsequently charged following an alleged incident on January 3 in Clay Road, Bury.
A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said Miss Sherman had appeared at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates and then Ipswich Crown Court for allegedly wounding and causing Paul Adderley grievous bodily harm.
She appeared at Bury Magistrates Court on January 5 for a committal hearing and then appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday where she entered no plea.
Mr Adderley, of Stanningfield, near Bury, declined to comment.
A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: "Police will be conducting an investigation on behalf of the coroner as is standard practice with a sudden death in prison.
"Information from the investigation will be passed to the corner and an investigation will be held in due course."
Miss Sherman is the third suspected suicide victim since the women's section was opened in 1997 and the second this year after Miss Bromley, serving four months for possessing Class A drugs and criminal damage, was found dead.
In September 2002, Tracey Newton became the first female suicide at the prison after the 19-year-old, serving a two-month sentence for assaulting two police officers and attempted deception, was found hanging from her cell.
Figures for the last 12 months from the Howard League revealed 14 female inmates killed themselves in prisons in England and Wales – the highest number ever in one single year .
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