Bedford prison the truth must come out

In the last issue of FRFI we reported on the death of remand prisoner Melvin Grant in HMP Bedford. On 12 March a preliminary inquest hearing took place and the full inquest will take place on 29 May. While there has been a significant amount of mainstream press coverage in the past six months of the terrible conditions in Bedford prison, as highlighted by reports from the Prison’s Inspectorate, there has been nothing about Melvin’s death. His family are hoping that this will change when the inquest happens.

Melvin’s brother Mikey told us:

‘We’ve got quite a few witnesses lined up for the inquest. And there’s also going to be a considerable amount of medical evidence. The medical service in the prison is subcontracted and they provide psychiatrists, who diagnosed him as needing medication, which the NHS then prescribed. We are waiting for more disclosure from the prison – CCTV, body-worn camera footage, that sort of thing. And then we are waiting for our own separate people to deal with the healthcare side of what medication they gave him, and we’ll be getting all that in the next couple of weeks.

‘We’ve heard that other people have died in there since Melvin and the number one governor has left as a result. We can’t say at this point whether the inquest can make a change to the terrible treatment of prisoners in Bedford prison, but we certainly want to use the process to gather as much evidence as we can about Melvin’s treatment and have that made public at the hearing.’

Leroy Smith