‘I could well die in here’: The story of Charlotte Nokes and the thousands still locked up on indefinite sentences
Nokes died in prison and her family still don’t know why. Harriet Marsden looks at the complex history of imprisonment for public protection sentences, which kept this woman away from care she desperately needed
This article was first published 20 October 2019. The inquest on 3 March concluded that Charlotte died from natural causes. The jury found that the medical cause of death was “sudden arrhythmic death syndrome”. Charlotte was on suicide watch at the time of her death and should have been checked twice an hour. However, the jury heard that she died several hours before she was found at 08:35 – despite there being checks documented throughout the night.
Her father, Steven, said: “She had many struggles in life, was beaten up for being ‘different’ and experienced mental ill health. Prison was never the best place for her. The indefinite sentence only made this worse. She told us the IPP sentence was really a life sentence, and despite her hopes and dreams of moving to London to study art, she knew she would die in prison. This cannot continue.”
Charlotte is one of four women to have died while serving an IPP sentence. As of June last year, there were still 42 women in prison on the same sentence.