Stop HMP Norwich Placing Autistic Prisoners on A and H Wings

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At the moment all prisoners detained at HMP Norwich, with the exception of those segregated under Rule 45, are always placed on A Wing for the first night. This is poor practice and fails to accommodate for prisoners who suffer from Autism and similar medical conditions which make them extremely vulnerable as a result. On top of that some of those prisoners are as young as 18 and will be even more vulnerable as a result of being mixed in with the over 21 prisoner population on A Wing.

As an example of this poor practice I myself suffer from Autism and was remanded into custody on the 17.11.2017. I was subsequently transferred to A Wing for my first night. Not only was the Wing extremely noisy during the day I have since heard from other prisoners on other wings that it was unsafe and following my release from prison I have discovered that even the Prison Inspectorate described the wing as "unsafe" for any inmate and even more "unsafe" for vulnerable prisoners. Their report went on to say that it was a good thing that Rule 45 prisoners were no longer housed on A Wing and were instead housed on C Wing, which was a far safer environment.

I was subsequently transferred to H Wing which is the prison's healthcare centre. This was on the grounds that due to my Autism I was considered too vulnerable to be on A Wing but could not be safely housed on C Wing because of the risk that the sex offenders housed there would groom me. On H Wing, I was verbally abused by the staff and inmates on a number of occasions which I found extremely traumatic, one example included being told to "shut up" by another inmate for complaining about being given food which he was unable to eat due to fact that he suffered from coeliac disease and the food contained gluten. It was also an unsafe environment and I witnessed a few violent incidents there which I was traumatised by having to witness. The healthcare centre was also extremely noisy and I found it impossible to concentrate fully enough to read a book. On some occasions I ended up being woken early by the sheer noise created by other inmates. I also found this extremely traumatic to witness.

After a number of months, I was subsequently transferred to E Wing which I found a lot nicer, quieter and safer than H Wing. Therefore I believe that neither A Wing nor H Wing are appropriate places to house inmates suffering with Autism. The only exception is if the inmate is suffering from another mental or physical health issue to a degree which means that they are unfit to be detained on a normal prison wing. My view is that prisoners suffering from Autism should always be housed on B, C, E or F&G Wings, starting on their first night in custody.



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