May 18, 2024


A campaigner for prisoners’ welfare in the UK has called for voluntary euthanasia for prisoners. Mark Leech, a former prisoner and the editor of the Prisons Handbook, was commenting on the attempted suicide of child murderer Ian Huntley in a British jail.

Mr Leech said that he would favour a system of assisted suicide like the one offered by the Swiss organisation Dignitas in Zurich. "There will have to be checks and balances. I would like to see a high court judge involved. The court would have to be convinced he knew exactly what he was doing, that his mental state was fine, his decision was irreversible, that this was his life and this was what he wanted to do," he said. "We have one life, it is our own life and prisoners should be able to end it with dignity if that is what they want."

Although voluntary euthanasia for prisoners is not a popular cause, it was mooted by Australian activist Dr Philip Nitschke in his recent book Killing Me Softly as the "last frontier in prison reform".