Alarm over deaths and suicides at HMP Pentonville Prison ‘warehouse’

Prison Cell Emptysource: Islington Tribune
published: 22 August 2014

Campaigners are calling for action following an alarming rise in the number of deaths and suicides at Pentonville Prison, which has seen six young men – four of whom had mental health problems – take their lives in four years.

The prison, in Caledonian Road, was judged unfit for the 21st century by chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick in February.

This week, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard that Noah Smith, 49, was found hanged in his cell at the prison, which has been described as a “warehouse” and a “massively overcrowded railway station”. Mr Smith was being treated for long-term mental health problems and substance misuse by Whittington Hospital NHS Trust and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

The court heard that he had been admitted to prison after being convicted of affray and that there was evidence he may have done so to get taken into custody deliberately.

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