The family of a man who hanged himself in HMP Bristol says he needed mental health unit care.
Father dies in prison within 48 hours of being remanded
The distressed sister of a prisoner jailed in Her Majestys Prison (HMP) Bristol says she “has no faith in the system” after her brother took his own life. Andrew Rawlins from Clevedon committed suicide just 48 hours after being remanded. Mr. Rawlins was a father of a single child and, from an early age, had battled with his mental health. Rawlins sister Katrina believes that instead of being remanded, Andrew Rawlins should have been an inpatient at a mental health unit. If that was an option, he could have had the appropriate treatment. Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust said the way they monitor inmates is to be reviewed.
Distress and anxiety
Andrew Rawlins was 26 years-old, he was one of five suicides at HMP Bristol in 2016. The number of such deaths at the Bristol prison is second only to HMP Woodhill, Milton Keynes for the most suicides last year. There was a record number of prisoners who committed suicide in England and Wales in 2016. There were 119 deaths by suicide which is 29 more deaths than in 2015. Its sadly the highest number since the recordings of deaths by suicide began almost forty years ago in 1978. The Howard League for Penal Reform said the number of suicides in prison was at “epidemic proportions.”
Before the tragedy, Mr. Rawlins lived with his sister Katrina and her boyfriend, Tom Turner. Then in May 2016, the couple became concerned about Mr. Rawlins behaviour. “Nothing whatsoever was being done for him,” said Mr. Turner. Katrina Rawlins said mentally ill people should be in hospital, not prison.
Andrew Rawlins found hanged
After not getting any help from the local community mental health team (CMHT), the couple called the police, and Mr. Rawlins was subsequently arrested. But, once arrested, Mr. Rawlins was in breach of bail conditions. This meant he was jailed at HMP Bristol. Sadly, less than 48 hours of being remanded Mr. Rawlins was found hanged. His inquest found he had taken his own life while suffering extreme distress and anxiety.
Mental health services in prisons across the west region are provided by the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.