Sickle cell anaemia and deaths in custody in the UK and USA
An unexplained death in custody represents an important focal point for public scrutiny of the criminal justice system, especially when excess deaths occur in those of minority ethnic descent. Sickle cell anaemia is a serious inherited blood disorder disproportionately affecting minority ethnic groups. Sickle cell trait is the genetic carrier state and not an illness. The evidence suggests that the treatment of sickle cell in the criminal justice system is twofold. Justice authorities have misused sickle cell trait to explain away ten sudden deaths, often associated with forced restraint, of African-Caribbean people in custody. Meanwhile, seven deaths have been attributable to lack of provision of health care for those prisoners suffering from the illness sickle cell anaemia.
A world-leading article that anticipated current criminal justice events: This article has been acknowledged by Parks and Crump, a US firm of attorneys representing the family of Martin Lee Anderson, killed by guards at a Florida boot-camp in January 2006, and currently suing for $40m. http://www.nospank.net/anderson.htm
Citation : Dyson, S. and Boswell, G. (2006) Sickle cell anaemia and deaths in custody in the UK and USA. The Howard journal of criminal justice, 45 (1), pp. 14-28.
ISSN : 0265-5527
Research Group : Unit for the Social Study of Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell