Until now, the prison service, police forces and immigration units have not been subject to the new Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act, and there have been no successful prosecutions of police or prison officers, individually or at a senior management level, for institutional failures that have contributed to a death in custody
But from 1 September a clause in the Corporate Homicide Act 2007 will come into place extending the law to cover all deaths in police custody suites, prison cells, mental health detention facilities, young offenders institutions and immigration suites. It will also cover Ministry of Defence institutions.
Prosecutions will take place if it can be proved that the way the facilities are managed or organised caused a death and amounted to a breach of the duty of care. The penalty for organisations convicted is a fine with no maximum limit. Crown Prosecution Service guidance says that the fines are likely to be in the many millions of pounds.
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