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Families of HMP Woodhill prisoners 'massively disappointed' by court result

Watch Olivia Kinsley's report above.

The High Court has decided it cannot force prison bosses at HMP Woodhill to make changes - despite having the highest number of self-inflicted deaths in the system.

Families of two men who died at the Milton Keynes jail launched a bid for a court order which would require the prison to take action to prevent further suicides.

Since 2013, 18 men have killed themselves at Woodhill. Seven of those were just last year.

Among them were Ian Brown and Daniel Dunkley, whose families brought the case to court.

But today the High Court said that, because in each case different mistakes had been made, there was no evidence of systematic failure.

It found a court order "was neither appropriate nor necessary".

Kevin Scarlett killed himself six months into his time at HMP Woodhill.

For Lee Jarman, the result has been yet another blow for his family.

His brother Kevin Scarlett killed himself after six months in the prison. He had suffered complex mental health problems since his teens.

Lee Jarman, brother of Kevin Scarlett. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

"I'm massively disappointed. They were in the cell for 22 hours a day. One of Kevin's coping mechanisms was to go and talk to people - they removed his coping mechanism and put him in a two-man cell by himself.

"The statistics speak for themselves. Eighteen deaths in three years. That's clearly managerial decisions that are affecting that."

– Lee Jarman, Kevin Scarlett's brother.

In 2016, seven men took their own lives at HMP Woodhill although there have been none so far this year.

Following today's judgement, the prison declined to comment while the Ministry of Justice said it had noted the findings.

The charity Inquest, which supports the families of people killed in prison and police cells, has called for a wider review.

"It's absolutely vital that the incoming government, the Justice Secretary and relevant ministers, review what's going on across the prison system and do something about that unacceptable death toll."

– Deborah Coles, Director, Inquest.