Protestors demand 'justice' after prison deaths

protestors holding signs saying things like "stop the deaths" stand on a road in front of three police officers
Protestors outside HMP Parc say the facility is "flooded with drugs" and inmates at risk of harm are not getting the help they need [BBC]

Families of inmates who died while in a prison say they want answers from authorities following claims of drug misuse within the jail.

Nine people have died at HMP Parc in Bridgend since February, with at least four believed to be drug-related, while one prison staff member has been arrested in connection with drug dealing there.

At a protest outside the facility on Monday, a friend of one prisoner who died from an overdose in April said he was told the prison was "flooded" with illegal substances.

Security company G4S, which runs the prison, said it has a "zero-tolerance policy towards drugs".

HMP Parc is one of the UK's largest category B prisons, holding convicted male adult and young offenders, as well as convicted sex offenders or those awaiting trial for sex offences.

Arrests have been made in connection with suspected drug supply into the jail, including one member of staff

The family of former inmate Mikey Horton said he took his own life at the prison just three weeks ago.

"We are appalled," said his aunt, Frances Jones.

Parc prison
At least four inmates at HMP Parc have died in suspected overdoses since February [BBC]

"I'm here for justice for Mikey and for families who have had to go through this."

Ms Jones said the family had more information about their nephew's death from the media than from authorities.

"We wanted to know why Mikey was not being watched.

"There are no words. I don't know how to comfort my sister."

A spokesperson for HMP Parc said: "A family liaison officer has been in regular contact with Mr Horton’s approved next of kin.”

A group of protestor on a roadside with signs saying things like G4S out and stop the drugs
Protestors says inmates have told them the prison is "flooded with drugs" [BBC]

Dylan Williams, 25, from Pontypridd, said his best friend, Cameron Lee Anthony, died at the prison last month after taking drugs.

"[I'm] upset, hurt. I've lost my best friend," he said.

He said he spoke to Mr Anthony during the short period he was at the prison.

"He said the wings were mayhem. Flooded with drugs."

Naomi Lewis' brother, Justin, from Newport, was found in his cell at HMP Parc in March. She said he had history of "seriously self-harming".

"Justin didn't get checked on all day," said Ms Lewis.

"He was self-harming. There should have been a duty of care. He's been failed in my eyes."

Protest organiser and ex-inmate Zack Griffiths said families are not getting answers.

"When you see them all here, with the banners and their faces on there, it becomes real," he said.

An HMP Parc spokesperson said: “We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who have died recently at Parc.

"As will all deaths in custody, these are being investigated by the prisons and probation ombudsman.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs and use a range of tactics to tackle the ingress of drugs and reduce demand."

They said the "vast majority of our staff are hard working and honest," and that the prison was working with police and the prison service's counter-corruption team to enforce the rules.

“In line with national policy, prisoners at risk of self harm or suicide are managed by a multi-disciplinary team and have a tailored support plan," they added.

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