Cruel and inhuman treatment of terminally ill prisoner

Former prisoner, Chris Tierney, who is dying from a brain tumour, has been recalled to prison for swearing at staff at a care home. Chris is paralysed down one side, losing his sight and displaying behaviour that medical experts on brain tumours say he cannot control. Ella Pybus, from the charity Brain Tumour UK, told The Guardian that it was ‘cruel and inhuman for a man who has served his sentence to be returned to prison to face a lonely and degrading death because of behaviour caused by a condition he cannot control, one that cannot be treated and that will end his life prematurely’.

Chris was imprisoned for life for murder in 1986. In 2004, he was diagnosed as having a brain tumour and was released from prison in March the following year, having been told that he had three years to live. On his release he was sent first to a probation hostel in Norwich, and from there eventually moved to a care home which specialises in the care of people with brain injuries. On 13 September probation officers recalled him to prison after he allegedly used abusive language towards a member of the nursing staff. He is now in the health care centre at Norwich prison.

FRFI sends warm greetings to Chris, who has been a subscriber to this paper throughout almost the whole of his sentence. Chris has always had a deep understanding of the iniquities of the system and has always stood up against its excesses with unbending principle.

Please write to Chris Tierney J28231, HMP Norwich, Knox Road, Norwich, NR1 4LU.


Once again the prison system is so full to bursting that newspapers and politicians have begun discussing the merits of amnesties versus more prison building. On 15 September there were 79, 145 people in prison in England and Wales, 2,200 more than this time last year. The government has not in fact announced any amnesty, but the ‘debate’ around even the suggestion of one allows The Sun, Daily Mail etc to level accusations of leniency at the government. Meanwhile the reality is that a disused army barracks near Dover is set to be converted into emergency prison accommodation, and there is speculation that part of Ashworth high security mental hospital will also be used to house prisoners. 

FRFI 193 October / November 2006


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