Sickle Cell Anaemia and Deaths in Custody in the UK and the USA
Simon M. Dyson
Unit for the Social Study of Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell, De Montfort University
De Montfort University - Community and Criminal Justice Studies Unit; University of East Anglia - School of Allied Health Professions
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 14-28, February 2006
An unexplained death in custody represents an important focal point for public scrutiny of the criminal justice system, especially when excess deaths occur in those of minority ethnic descent. Sickle cell anaemia is a serious inherited blood disorder disproportionately affecting minority ethnic groups. Sickle cell trait is the genetic carrier state and not an illness. The evidence suggests that the treatment of sickle cell in the criminal justice system is twofold. Justice authorities have misused sickle cell trait to explain away ten sudden deaths, often associated with forced restraint, of African-Caribbean people in custody. Meanwhile, seven deaths have been attributable to lack of provision of health care for those prisoners suffering from the illness sickle cell anaemia.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Date posted: March 17, 2006