Saturday, 22 May 2010

Remembering Valerie Hayes

Report of another of Pauline's demonstrations.



On Thursday 18th May 2006 a Four-hour demonstration was held outside Styal Prison to protest against the death of mother-of-two, Valerie Hayes, 42, who died on 10.05.06.

The demonstration was attended by about 20 demonstrators and various journalists. Protesters came from Cheshire, Shropshire, Greater Manchester, and London and included representatives from 'No More Prison', and FRFI (Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism).

Floral tributes were laid in memory of Ms Hayes, including a bouquet of flowers from London based charity "Women in Prison".

Just before 3 o'clock a prison van operated by GSL (Global Solutions) was stopped by protesters as it attempted to take prisoners into the jail. The police were called by the prison and attempted to persuade the demonstrators to let the van in. Pauline Campbell responded with an passionate and powerful speach in which she pointed out the history of deaths in Styal and the failure of the prison to implement recommendations of both the HM Inspectorate of Prisons and other official bodies. She advised that Styal was unsafe and requested they redirect the van to somewhere safer.

Following discussions between the police and the Van driver (and possibly acting on instructions from the Home Office) at 3.20 pm the prison van turned round, left Styal Prison, and departed for HMP Altcourse.

Prison Van admits lack of care

At 4.00pm another GSL prison van arrived and again protesters blocked its access to the prison. The driver of this van was far more agressive in his attempts to enter the prison recklessly endangering the protesters and blocking access to the prison.

Before the police arrived the driver admitted that one of the prisoners caged in the van had been on board for over 4 hours without a toliet break. Far more seriously she did not have access to her inhaler. The driver was unwilling to explain why a prisoner was being transported from Wales without necessary medical care. Given the medical condition of the woman at 4.30 pm, protesters allowed the vehicle into the prison on humanitarian grounds.

Police returned later and were still in attendance at the entrance to the prison when protesters left at 5 pm.

The demonstration, covered by local radio stations, was attended by The Guardian's prisons correspondent, local press & photographers.

Statement by Pauline Campbell

"Valerie Hayes, mother-of-two, was the 4th woman to die in the 'care' of HMP Styal since my daughter's death in January 2003. It is deeply worrying that the Chief Inspector of Prisons report on Styal, published the day before Ms Hayes' death, described an "overcrowded and under-resourced" jail that had failed to implement eight out of 12 recommendations to prevent women trying to hurt or kill themselves.

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