Friday, 21 July 2017

Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice: An avoidable death.



PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
20th July 2017.

Justice for Sarah Reed begins with health and prison services being held accountable for deaths in custody.
#SarahRead #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter.

Background

Sarah Reed, a young black woman with a history of mental illness, detained on remand in a single occupancy cell in the healthcare unit of Holloway Women's Prison, was found dead on 11th January 2016. The prison has since been closed. Sarah’s illness was precipitated by the premature death of her six-month-old daughter in 2003, when she and her partner were dispatched from a children's hospice with their deceased baby wrapped in a quilt to find an undertaker. Sarah's mental health deteriorated as a consequence of this trauma. She was also the victim of a vicious assault by a Metropolitan Police Officer, PC James Kiddie in 2012. He was subsequently charged, convicted and dismissed from the police force. This incident further exacerbated Sarah's condition, as did her arrest for an alleged assault whilst defending herself against a sexual attacker in a secure mental health unit.  

The inquest into Sarah Reed’s sudden death was held at City of London Coroners Court. It started on Tuesday, 4th July and concluded on Thursday, 20th July 2017. The jury's verdict found that The Inner London Crown Court’s processes of obtaining psychiatric medical reports were not sufficiently timely. The jury found the delay “particularly difficult to understand”. If a timely Fitness to Plead Assessment had been performed as requested by the court, then Sarah Reed would not have suffered a mental health crisis in HMP Holloway and would have received appropriate treatment within a mental health hospital. The jury concluded this delay significantly contributed to her subsequent death. The jury also found that the Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) review delays and failures were contributory factors to Sarah’s death, in particular the reduction of observations despite her worsening psychotic condition. They found the reduction of Sarah’s anti-psychotic medication to have been appropriate initially, but strongly criticised the subsequent failure to consider safer alternatives. The jury also found that HMP Holloway staff failed to respond to a request from Dr Timms to review Sarah’s anti-psychotic medication in a timely manner. These failures left Sarah in a distressed state without appropriate treatment. Finally, the jury considered HMP Holloway’s inexplicable decision to cancel Sarah’s visits with family and friends especially detrimental.

Sarah’s legal team was exceptional, however the search for the truth is often frustrated by a lack of resources for families in terms of legal and evidential expertise. We believe the inquest evidence presented, outlining the ways in which Sarah’s behaviour was assessed and managed, the withdrawing of her medication, and the punishments and segregation to which she was subjected are highly disturbing. It paints a distressing picture of the inhumane way a Black woman with mental illness was treated in prison. Sarah’s case, like the cases of Dean Saunders and David 'Rocky' Bennett before her, have highlighted systemic failings of care for people with mental illness and institutional racism within prisons.

The Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice has been supported by a number of individuals, groups and organisations, in particular the social movement Blaksox, Women In Prison, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, and Gender, Education and Enterprise Development for Africa (GEEDA). 

As far as the Campaign and Sarah’s family are concerned, the specific facts relating to Sarah’s death still remain largely unexplained.

We make the following urgent demands:

1.     The Government should commit to ensuring nobody with severe mental illness should be placed in a police or prison cells.

2.     Urgent modernisation and reform of the Coroners’ inquest courts processes to give greater equity and justice to victims’ relatives. 

3.     That Coroners’ inquests recommendations need to be mandatory and enforced by law.
4.     In the event a prisoner is identified as having a mental health crisis requiring transfer to hospital, that this takes place within two (2) hours and treated as an emergency, as is the case with a physical medical crisis.

5.     That no prisoner identified as mentally ill and/or on suicide watch is screened off as punishment, isolating them from human contact and cutting off visibility when they most need it.

This inquest has left serious questions unanswered:

1.     How did Sarah, a woman in poor physical health commit suicide by strangling herself and maintain the pressure past the point of unconsciousness whilst lying face up on a bed, within a ten-minute window?

2.     Why were key reports such as Fitness to Plead and important psychiatric assessment reports delayed, causing significant harm to Sarah?

3.     Why did Holloway Prison psychiatrist, Dr Darren Bull determine that Sarah was not psychotic, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

4.     Why was there a substantive and critical delay in transferring Sarah from Holloway to hospital once a decision was made that she was in need of urgent medical treatment?

Donna McKoy, Chair of the Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice said, “Sarah would be alive today had the Coroners' inquest recommendations been considered mandatory and been backed by the force of law.”

Kate Paradine, CEO of Women in Prison asked, “’What was she even doing in prison in the first place?’ This is the question we at the charity Women in Prison hear most often whenever a woman dies in prison. In 2016, 22 women died in prison with 12 of these taking their own lives. Tragically, their stories are remarkably similar - histories of trauma, abuse, mental ill health and self-harm; often in prison on remand or sentenced for non-violent crimes (84% of all prison sentences for women) – mostly for theft like shoplifting. …The inquest into [Sarah’s] death tells the story of a completely broken system.”  

Patricia Lamour MBE of GEEDA pointed out that “Sarah Reed was remanded in custody for the sole purpose of a psychiatric report to assess her fitness to plea. The inordinate delay in processing these reports was a material factor in the circumstances surrounding Sarah's death. No woman, no mother, in fact nobody suffering from mental illness should be detained in either a prison or a police cell.”

Sarah Reed Campaign member Claudia Manchanda said, "I sat through the inquest and heard several examples of what appeared to be evidence of perjury and poor practice by a range of statutory agencies. I think that the evidence given to this inquest should be the basis of charges of perjury, internal disciplinary measures and dismissals, where appropriate."

Zita Holbourne, Sarah Reed Campaign Trade Union liaison officer and Chair of BARAC UK, said that "the gross injustices Sarah experienced, leading to her unexpected death have been of great concern to the trade union movement and, in recognition of the fact that Sarah died because she was black, a woman and disabled due to her mental ill-health, four emergency motions have been carried at the TUC Black Workers, Women & Disabled Workers conferences. The evidence heard at the inquest leaves more questions unanswered. Sarah's family deserves to know the truth."

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST stated: “Sarah Reed was an extremely vulnerable black woman with a long history of mental ill health. …. The state’s responsibility for deaths goes beyond the prison walls and extends to failures in mental health and substance abuse provision, sentencing policies and the failure to implement the Corston report and invest in alternatives to custody.”

Viv Ahmun of Blaksox called on the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, to publish the long overdue report into Black deaths in custody saying, "It's high time the Home Secretary addressed the deepening anxieties of victims and the wider public about the growing number of controversial black deaths in custody. Sarah Reed is just one of many and it is vital that lessons are learned and urgent reform implemented as a matter of priority."

Lee Jasper said, “The horrific treatment of Sarah Reed whilst on remand in HMP Holloway constitutes cruel and unusual punishment of a young black woman suffering mental ill health. The jury’s findings identified critical failures by prison and mental health staff that substantively contributed towards the death of Sarah Reed. 

Those agencies and individuals that so drastically, failed Sarah should now be subject to profession disciplinary charges and investigations. Those who failed Sarah most notably HMP Holloway Psychiatrists, Dr Van Horn, Dr Van Bull and Prison Governor Emily Thomas should be suspended immediately, pending investigation. 

Sarah tried to tell them she needed help. They refused to listed, Her mother was refused visas, even though Sarah was only on remand simply awaiting her fitness to plead report. Both Sarah and her mother begged and pleaded for that help. Sarah was  black, she was a women. She was mentally ill. She was vulnerable. Denied medication. She was in jail. She stood no chance


Contact Details:
Lee Jasper 07984 181 797
Zita Holbourne 07711 861 660
Patricia Lamour 07508 950 589
Claudia Manchanda 07947 306609


Links to articles:

 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/23/sarah-reed-death-custody-paradigm-shift-black-women-blaksox-campaign 

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-0bf3-Sarah-Reed-was-a-woman,-a-mother-and-a-daughter#.WW90aoHTXqA http://thejusticegap.com/2016/02/sarah-reed-she-needed-care-not-punishment/ 

 https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/17/sarah-reeds-mother-deaths-in-custody-holloway-prison-mental-health 










Monday, 17 July 2017

SHIRLEY OAKS SURVIVORS ASSOCIATION (SOSA) DEMAND JUSTICE FROM LAMBETH

The representatives of SOSA have finally had enough of Lambeth Council’s prevaricating. Lambeth admitted liability back in October 2016 for systemic failing and the abuse that was inflicted on Children in its care homes. Nine months later SOSA are still waiting for justice.
On 20th June 2017, Raymond Stevenson, SOSA’s spokesperson, stormed Lambeth’s office at Olive Morris House and demanded to speak to Sean Harriss the Chief Executive of Lambeth Council who had mislead SOSA on certain aspects of the proposed scheme to provide redress to the victims of historic child abuse in Lambeth’s children’s home. Having been informed to return later that day, Sean Harriss still refused to meet with Raymond and address SOSA’s concerns. The police were called and since that date Sean Harriss has not been at Lambeth with Jackie Beltram taking the position of Interim Chief Executive. Up to today's date Sean is still absent.
Michael Mansfield, the leading QC representing SOSA, told members at their meeting on 24th June 2017 that he was considering pulling out of the negotiations due to Lambeth’s lack of transparency and inability to conduct the negotiations in the spirit of redress.
Lambeth has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax payers money trying to develop a scheme that reduces victims ability to claim compensation, rather than ensuring that all victims of the paedophile ring that operated in the Council receive the compensation they deserve.
On Wednesday 19th SOSA members will be making a deputation to all Lambeth Councillors.
Raymond Stevenson (spokesperson for SOSA) said: “Whilst we appreciate that Lambeth has admitted its systemic failing to the children who were in its care, this means nothing if its redress scheme is not fit for purpose and inclusive of all the victims and survivors we represent. The scheme was proposed last September and it’s nearly a year and it is still not in place. Over the last couple of months some of our members have died, Lambeth must be waiting for all of us to drop dead so they don’t have to compensate us for the harm they caused.”
Lee Jasper, said
"Just like the response to Grenfell Tower fire, victims of Lambeth's historic child sex abuse are still awaiting justice. That people who have and continue to suffer so grievously is an appalling indictment of Lambeth Council leadership. To inflict even more suffering on those whom have enduring the most sicking crimes, constitutes an cruel and unseal punishment.
Alongside Grenfell I warn anyone that cares to listen, that this particular debacle is draining public confidence in Londons civic and public authorities, and make no mistake the con sequences could be dire.
Lambeth Council needs to raise its game and ensure that they meet the expressed demands as set out by the campaign."
DATE OF DEPUTATION: Wednesday 19th July 2017
TIME: 6PM

VENUE: Due to Lambeth Town Hall currently being closed for refreshment the full Council meeting is at The Elm Green School Elm Court Road West Norwood London SE27 9BZ
Ends
Notes to Editor
SOSA is a support group that has been set up yo listen and document the accounts of those or suffered or witnessed a variety of horrific abuse whilst in care inLambeth’s Children’s Homes.
Shirley Oaks Children’s Home
Shirley Oaks children's home was based in Croydon, Surrey on a 70 acre site with 52 houses which catered between 8-14 children. Complete with its own school, swimming pool, works depot and a doctor’s surgery, it was the only world most of the children knew. It opened in 1904 to glowing reports of Shirley Oaks as a model village created for children whose parents had died or were unable to look after them. Its mission statement was to train the children in a career and steer them away from the physical disadvantage of the crowded districts and also from the morally injurious influences which are powerfully demonstrated in the streets of the great metropolis. Thousands of children passed through the gates of Shirley Oaks. For most vulnerable children aged between 1 -16 years of age, it was easy for them to believe they had been sent to an outpost of heaven. Lush green fields surrounded the village style setting with houses branching off the enclosed ring road which would end up being a road paved to hell. Sadly for most of the children they would have been better off left to fend for themselves on the streets rather than being left in the hands of Lambeth and its children’s homes.
In December 2016, SOSA released its interim report which identified 60 paedophiles operating in Shirley Oaks. After extending its investigations to include other children’s homes in Lambeth, that number has increased to 130 paedophiles. In 2003, the Council had identified 50 paedophiles and the police believed there were 100 paedophiles operating in the homes In a plight to establish the true scale of the cover-up, the report examined the relationships between the local management of Shirley Oaks; Lambeth Council; various central government entities; the Police and the various council led independent inquiries into sexual abuse. It questions why there has was only ever one conviction for sexual abuse at Shirley Oaks when the abuse was so prolific and four as part of Lambeth’s overarching investigation of its children’s homes. The report also exposes the far reaching failures of Lambeth Council, its Children’s Social Services department and other entities and how this led, directly or indirectly, to the sexual and physical abuse and neglect of so many children with some experiencing premature deaths whilst others become addicts and/or experienced mental health problems and/or leading dysfunctional adult lives.
For more information on SOSA www.shirleyoakssurvivorsassociation.co.uk


To contact SOSA: Tel: 0207 701 9950 Mobile: 07956101387

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

A Black Psychiatrist and Sarah Reed. Why do black professional men always fail our black sisters?


#Justice4SarahReed Sarah Reed Urgent Update. Weds 12th July Day 8. 

This is bound to be controversial but personally after what I have seen at the Inquest of Sarah Reed so far, I don’t give a damn I'll see anybody in court.

Let me show how deep institutional racism works in the criminal justice system in the UK.

Sarah Reed was on remand for four months for an alleged assault. She had been on a mental health ward and was molested by an elderly white patient, defended herself and was arrested for assault.

In the days and weeks before her death on January 11th 2015, a white male Deputy Prison Governor concluded that Sarah Reed was psychotic and needed to be removed from Holloway jail segregation unit and taken to hospital.

Dr. Darren Van Bull. Psychiatrist. 
This young black dreadlocks man is Dr Darren Bull. He is a Psychiatrist at Holloway. He sat in on the same meeting as the Deputy Prison Governor. Both were at the same mental health review of Sarah's treatment.

The Deputy Governor was clear and forceful in his view, when he gave evidence at Sarah's Inquest. His professional view was that Sarah was clearly psychotic and needed to be removed from prison asap.  He gave his testimony with clarity and strength.

A note of this review meeting was produced after forensic investigation of the files.

Dr Bull also gave evidence at Sarah's inquest. He stated that in his professional opinion, not only was Sarah not psychotic, but her anti psychotic meds should be reduced, as he suspected she may have been smoking Spice which he says mimics the symptoms of psychosis. He then began to order the reduction of he her anti psychotic meds.

First, how do you get Spice into a prison segregation unit when Sarah was in her cell, 24/7 not allowed even a shower, and on four man unlock with no visitors? Who brought it in, prison officers?


Second, Sarah toxicology report showed she had no illicit drugs in her blood, none.

The result of reducing Sarah's meds was that she becomes viciously tormented in that cell by her own demons. She begged, and begged, to be given her meds back. She was ignored.

We heard at the Inquest how Sarah was consumed by visions, 

She never slept day after day, night after night, she is recorded as having sat on her bunk., rocking back and forth staring at the wall, endlessly repeating a religious chant, begging Christ to release her.


So this house negro is advanced a Spice theory hoping this bullshit will stick with the aim of obscuring his rank in competence, mendacity and complicity with Sarah's death.

Stuck in that cell, 24 hours a day, no medication and plagued by horrendous psychotic hallucinations.

Dr Bulls written report failed to reflect or even account for the Deputy Governors concerns, when asked why his report was the polar opposite of what was actually discussed, he stammered, stumbled and choked and could not provide an adequate explanation or answer.

His report concluded that Sarah was emotionally disturbed but other wise fine, definitely not psychotic and could therefor remain in Holloway segregation unit. Had he concluded differently Sarah would be alive today.

We can shout racism all we like, but this brother came to an Inquest and lied to protect the system, while a white man came and told the truth. Are you feeling this family?

I have never been so ashamed of black men, as I sat there yesterday (11th July 2017) and watched this fool explain how he co signed Sarah's death warrant. The man was arrogant and cocky until he was confronted with the evidence of the Deputy comments, which thank goodness he was not aware of this when he took the stand.

When the inconsistency was raised he crumbled and said that the words were as far as he could recall was best recollection at the time.

Truth is, its obvious he lied. Because this is an Inquest and not a criminal trial, the normal rules of criminal prosecution don't apply and after this fool lied and conspired to obscure the truth, the Coroner refusing to let him be pressed any more, let him leave the stand.

I am viscerally affected, mortified and heart broken and I thought about this  long and hard and I cannot simply let this pass and neither should you.

This man should be treated like the pariah he is. We know his type and we know they will do anything for the white mans shilling. This one was an eager beaver though.. he tried to play smart and got caught out. He may have walked away form the Inquest but let him become a pariah.

He has the blood of Sarah Reed on his hands.

These are the black men who make me weep, wearing his dreadlocks like a cultural badge of honour, worn simply to impress his white upper middle class colleges with his trendy deadlocked multiculturalism. All the while selling out the community under his care.

More too come, but let’s ensure that the everyone knows who Dr Bull is and what he's done. 

https://www.facebook.com/DrDBull/