We have received reports of abusive treatment in the segregation unit in HMP Wakefield. Prison segregation units are "prisons within prisons" with intensified regimes of solitary confinement.
Authorisation to hold people in the segregated unit is supposedly regularly reviewed. However, prisoners are being routinely denied the opportunity to make representations against being kept in segregation longer. Officers are falsely claiming prisoners have declined to make representations, consistently targeting practising Muslims.
One man is on 7 man unlock. This means 7 officers with shields enter each time his cell is opened and he is required to stand at the back of his cell in a certain position, or be attacked by 7 armed officers.
Others are being denied the most basic necessities. Someone has been denied hot water and blankets, and hasn't been allowed to leave his cell to use the shower or exercise. He has not been seen outside his cell for a month.
Someone else was refused his right to a shower and exercise because there was a female officer on the wing. However other prisoners reported there were in fact 6 male officers on the wing
When officers are challenged they retaliate with nickings (allegations of breaking prison rules). One person's access to his money has been cut off - the only way he is able to purchase edible food and phone credit to maintain contact with his support network.
Prison Officers think they can get away with this treatment because they are far away from accountability, behind the prison walls. We must let them know we are watching and we will not remain silent. They can not continue to torture people with impunity.
We say: No Justice, no peace.
CALL: 01924 612 000
Ask for Tom Wheatley but be prepared to speak to whoever answers.
Sample phone script: I'm calling to ask why officers are targeting prisoners in the segregation unit, specifically practising Muslims. This includes deny them access to legal help, which is a breach of article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. What actions will you take to end 7 man unlock, and to end the systemic denial of regime? How will you ensure those held in the segregation can make representations to be moved out the seg? What are you doing to stop retribution against prisoners who assert their rights? I am sure you will agree this must be urgently addressed.
To whom it may concern,
I'm emailing about the recent spate of attacks by prison officers in HMP Wakefield, specifically targeting practising muslims, including using 7-man unlock on one prisoner, and systemically denying prisoners their right to exercise, shower, hot water, and blankets.
PSO 1700 states that a segregation review board should take place every 14 days. This has clearly been violated in the treatment of those held in the segregation unit at HMP Wakefield.
Furthermore, officers have lied on paperwork, claiming prisoners have declined to make representations when it comes to segregation reviews, treatment that I believe is in contravention of article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Where prisoners have asserted their rights, they are being met with retribution, including access to their money being cut off- segregation already has disturbingly high rates of suicide*, and prison officers denying peoples rights further within this will only exacerbate the risk.
Additionally, a report by the UN Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on torture expressed particular concern about segregation in excess of 15 days, noting that, “...the harmful psychological effects of isolation can become irreversible”** after that length of time. He also noted that lasting personality changes often prevent individuals from successfully readjusting to life outside segregation.
I am sure you will agree this must be urgently addressed and I look forward to hearing how you plan to address these serious and egregious human rights violations.
* PPO anual report 2015
** Interim report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human
Rights Council on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment, paras 26, 65.