Prison is no place for this disabled man

Will the Paralympics help challenge the daily pain and discrimination millions of disabled people have to contend with? Or will the celebrated sporting achievement of some be used to hide the fate of those considered less worthy? In his excellent article about the neglect of ill and disabled people in prison (Comment is free, 5 September), Eric Allison describes as “the worst I have ever come across” the suffering of Daniel Roque Hall, a severely disabled 30-year-old man with complex healthcare needs. Despite assurances by the governor of Wormwood Scrubs that it could and would provide him adequate care, he has been in and out of hospital since he was taken to prison, and has ended up on life support. 

Daniel Roque Hall’s mother describes what he has faced: “Tortured and taken to doctors to be saved so he can be taken back to prison and tortured again.” This has been raised with the prisons minister and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. To save his life, his mother and friends have had to fight through the censorship, the callousness and the political opportunism that demonise prisoners. 

No Paralympic medals can make up for the fact that those who are most vulnerable are being denied their dignity and their rights. People with disabilities, also demonised as a precursor to being targeted for savage cuts and hate crimes, are already fighting for their lives. As Allison makes clear, no one is more vulnerable than a severely disabled prisoner. If care institutions, be they hospitals, prisons, or residential or retirement homes, are able to neglect, torture and even kill with impunity, then none of us is ever safe. To send Daniel Roque Hall back to prison would amount to cruel and degrading punishment and a death sentence. He must be allowed to serve his sentence at home.

Niki Adams Legal Action for Women 
Emily Burnham Non-practising solicitor
Peter Chappell Homeopath 
Claudio Chipana Member, Latin American Recognition Campaign (LARC)
Lord Dholakia 
Niamh Eastwood Release
Lisa Egan
Joan Faber Religious Sister
Tara Flood 
Diane Frazer Psychotherapist
Claire Glasman WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities)
Professor Paul Higgs Sociology of Ageing, University College London
John Hirst Prisoners’ rights advocate
Selma James International Wages for Housework Campaign 
Anver Jeevanjee Retired immigration judge  
Lord Judd 
Michael Kalmanovitz Payday men’s network 
Bruce Kent 
Flo Krause Barrister 
Nina Lopez Global Women’s Strike 
Ian Macdonald QC 
Daniel Machover Solicitor 
Baroness Masham of Ilton 
Francesca Martinez Comedian and writer
Anna Mazzola Solicitor
John McArdle Black Triangle Campaign
John McDonnell MP 
Anne Neale Queer Strike
Robert Nind Progressing Prisoners Maintaining Innocence
Julie O’Keefe Occupational therapist in neuro-disability and palliative care
Pat Onions
John O Miscarriages of Justice UK (MOJUK)
Angela Qasir School principal 
Lord Ramsbotham
Lord Redesdale
Professor Graham Scambler Medical Sociology, University College London
Professor Michael Thorndyke Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Baroness Wilkins
Benjamin Zephaniah

Letters to The Guardian

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