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An urgent, public plea from Ombudsman Adrian Usher

“Over the last few days, we confirmed that 6 deaths have occurred at HMP Parc in just under one month. I am saddened by this high number, and I offer my deepest condolences to those affected.

Yesterday, we said that we are not making any assumptions as to whether there is a link between these deaths – however, after initial enquiries, we now believe at least 4 out of the 6 deaths are drug-related.

These deaths likely involve spice (a psychoactive substance), mixed with another family of drugs. There has been a national public health warning issued about this particular drug, the name of which is yet to be determined, but we believe that at least two of the deceased at HMP Parc had taken this substance. It is therefore likely the deaths are all spice related.

We urge all prisoners who are in possession of spice to dispose of it immediately. This is a dangerous drug and we do not want to see any more unnecessary deaths occur. Friends, family, next of kin, and staff in prison – please share this message as wide and as quickly as possible”.

Notes to editors:

At the time of writing, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman have been notified of and began investigating 20 deaths at HMP Parc from 01/01/2022 to 20/03/2024. This includes the 6 deaths which we were notified of between 27/02/2024 – 19/03/2024.

As I mentioned yesterday, we are not in a position to confirm all of the names and dates of death yet – we have started announcing this publicly on our website since 22 February, but we will not announce this information until after the next of kin has been notified. The page is updated weekly, and you can expect to see the names of some of the recent deaths at Parc in the coming weeks.