Chesterfield MP demands 'urgent investigation' after Nottingham prison deaths

Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins.
Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins is urging the Government to carry out an 'urgent investigation' into deaths at Nottingham prison.

Five HMP Nottingham inmates have died within a month.

One of them was 23-year-old Marc Maltby, from Chesterfield.

Another was Andrew Brown, 42, who previously lived in a cave in Baslow and died in hospital five days after he was found hanging in his cell at the prison.

Mr Maltby's mother Sharon Whitford, 43, of Gloucester Road, Newbold, said that an autopsy into her son's death concluded he died by hanging and there were no suspicious circumstances - but she still has questions.

Mr Perkins said today: "I have written to Sharon to express my condolences and to offer any assistance I can in obtaining the answers she needs from the prison authorities regarding Marc's tragic death.

"I also call on the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to instigate an urgent investigation into the spate of deaths at HMP Nottingham.

"Cuts to the number of prison officers over the last seven years have increased the number of prisoner deaths, as well as seeing significant increases in drug use, assaults on staff, serious incidents and bullying.

"I welcome the Government's recruitment drive for new officers - but for people like Marc it is too little, too late."

A spokesman for the MOJ said: "Transforming prisons into places of safety and reform is our top priority and we are tackling the challenges we face head-on.

"HMP Nottingham is working closely with health colleagues to increase the support available to vulnerable prisoners and is increasing staffing levels which will boost safety and stability at the prison - an extra 40 prison officers have recently been recruited.

"The prison has put a number of measures into place to tackle the threat of drugs, and across the estate we are also taking unprecedented action to stop the supply of drugs, including training over 300 specialist drug dogs and making it a criminal offence to possess psychoactive substances."

The spokesman said that the MOJ has launched a 'suicide and self-harm reduction project to address the increase in self-inflicted deaths and self-harm in our prisons'.

"As with all deaths in custody, independent investigations by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman are ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage," the spokesman added.

HMP Nottingham is a male category B prison, which takes prisoners from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire courts, and has a capacity of 1,060 inmates.

In July, an Independent Monitoring Boards report said the prison had a problem with violence and drugs.

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