The Ministry of Justice released statistics on deaths in prisons in England and Wales in 2020 showing that the number of deaths in prison is increasing.
In 2020, there were 318 deaths of people in prison, which equated to four deaths per 1,000 prisoners. Seventy-one deaths (22%) occurred within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, of which 51 are suspected to be due to Covid-19. Under section 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, a senior coroner who is made aware that the body of a deceased person is within that coroner’s area must as soon as practicable conduct an investigation into the person’s death if the deceased died while in custody or otherwise in state detention. Dr Anton van Dellen sits as an Assistant Coroner in West London.