'The Crime File' series - Madness Behind Bars

How prisons became a dumping ground for the mentally ill

The Guardian, December 6 2004

On the evening of Thursday August 19 this year, a prisoner was locked into his cell in the segregation unit of Wormwood Scrubs prison in west London. This man had been sent to the seg to be held in solitary confinement as a punishment because he had threatened a cellmate. But that was three weeks earlier and, since then, he had settled down and been quite easy to manage. Everything was normal.

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The best prison in the country - and it still took two years to get treatment

The Guardian, December 6 2004

Here's a story about just how hard it is for a bad system to mend its ways, even when a lot of people are trying to do the right thing. It's about a young man from Birmingham, which is important in itself, because the local prison at Winson Green is now the showcase for the prison service's drive to improve life for its mentally-disordered inmates.

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Living nightmares of the most difficult prisoners in Britain

The Guardian, December 7 2004

We do not need to know exactly what happened to Glenn Wright when he was a child. It is enough to say that he suffered most painfully at the hands of an adult who forced him to live through nightmares. Before that, he was just an ordinary boy, growing up in Northampton in the 1970s, his father a supervisor at the Carlsberg brewery, his mother looking after the five children, of whom he was the...

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The jailing of mentally disordered children

The Guardian, December 8 2004

We jail more children than almost any other country in the European Union. While politicians have been wringing their hands over the relentless increase in the number of adult prisoners, they have stayed almost silent on the fact that the number of children behind bars has been rising even faster.

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