The United Families & Friends Campaign has some funds to support affected family members to attend the INTERROGATING STATE VIOLENCE: CUSTODIAL DEATHS, JUSTICE AND RESISTANCE conference that will take place on 26 October 2018 in London.
The conference aims to bring to focus research on the issue of deaths in custody in the UK. The anniversary event will map trajectories of struggles for justice over two decades, highlighting new research and policy directions, as well as offering contextualised and historical understandings of state violence.
The conference will be followed by the UFFC 20th Anniversary Procession on Saturday 27 October 2018 at Trafalgar Square, London.
Mikey’s cousin and prominent activist and social justice campaigner, Tippa Naphtali, has written the following moving article to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Mikey’s 2003 death in custody.
It was a lazy Sunday morning of 7th September 2003 when I received the devastating news from my sister that my cousin, Michael Lloyd Powell (known as Mikey), had died during a violent restraint by West Midlands police officers. This news was to mark the start of a 15-year journey that would have a significant impact on my life to this day.
Mikey was a hard-working and loving father of three boys, and was well-known and respected in the local community. He was experiencing a severe psychotic episode when police officers were called by my distraught aunt, Clarissa Powell.
source: INQUEST originally published: 26 July 2018
The Ministry of Justice has today (26 July 2018) released the latest statistics on safety, deaths and self-harm in custody. The data shows that levels of self-harm and violence in prison continues to escalate. While the number of overall deaths have reduced since 2016, they are still at historically high levels.
Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said:
“These statistics point to the disturbing reality of prison life with escalating levels of distress, self-harm, homicide and violence. The only way to improve safety and reduce prison deaths is to dramatically cut the prison population and invest in community alternatives.
The number of deaths awaiting classification in this period has more than doubled with the majority of people found unresponsive in their cells. The undetermined nature of these deaths raises questions as to whether they are drug related or due to undiagnosed or untreated health conditions.
A well-attended memorial event, “Justice Denied—The Life and Times of Joy Gardner,” marked 25 years since the 1993 murder of Jamaican mother Joy Gardner by the British government’s Alien Deportation Squad (ADG).
Held in North London’s West Indian Cultural Centre, the event included a showing of Ken Fero’s documentary Justice Denied about Joy’s murder. The memorial was held by the United Families and Friends (UFF) campaign, set up in 1998 to expose deaths in police custody and prison.
The main speaker was Joy’s mother, Myrna Simpson, who is also interviewed extensively in the film. Justice Denied can be viewed on Vimeo here.