Saturday the 27th of February the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Don’t let my son’s death be in vain, pleads prison suicide campaigner

A father whose son killed himself in prison after failings by the authorities has warned that others will die unless minsters urgently improve care behind bars.

Stay-at-home dad Dean Saunders, 25, was suffering from mental health problems when he killed himself at Chelmsford Prison in January last year.

The prisons ombudsman said he was given too little protection by the criminal justice system and the jury at his inquest found his death was “contributed to by neglect”.

His father Mark, 49, a bus driver from Basildon in Essex, met Justice Secretary Liz Truss and told her she must urgently improve safety in Britain’s jails.

He told the Press Association: “I looked back through ten years of investigations into suicides and the same failings are repeated, there are clear patterns there.

“I told her that I was angry, because if something had happened many deaths and inquests ago maybe we wouldn’t be here now. I’m angry on that side.

“But now I know the failings I can’t walk away. I can’t walk away and let someone else die and I don’t want Dean to have died in vain.

“Dean was the type of lad who would help anyone, and when he needed the help they just turned their back on him.

“They have got to make changes. That’s what I’m fighting for.”

Picture: A prisoners hand pokes through the bars. (Andrew Parsons/PA).