INQUEST, the organisation which assists the families of those who die in custody, has been awarded the 2009 Longford Prize.
The Longford Prize recognises the contribution of an individual, group or organisation working in the area of penal or social reform which has shown ‘outstanding qualities of humanity, courage, persistence and originality’ and was established as part of a trust in memory of the late Labour cabinet minister and outspoken prison reformer Lord Longford. The prize is sponsored by the Independent newspaper and organised in association with the Prison Reform Trust.
The commendation reads: ‘We award the 2009 Longford Prize to INQUEST for its remarkable perseverance, personal commitment and courage in an area too often under-investigated by the public authorities, and especially for its support of the families of those who have taken their own lives while in the care of the state.’
Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST, said about the award: ‘INQUEST’s small dedicated staff team is delighted to receive this award for our work in upholding the human rights of bereaved people. Despite our size and limited resources INQUEST’s unique combination of casework and policy has brought political, policy and judicial attention to the experience of bereaved people, the treatment and care of people in the custody of the state, the need for improvements to the investigation and inquest system, and for greater state and corporate accountability to prevent future deaths. We hope that this important award brings wider attention to and understanding of our important work.’