chapter  15
8 Pages

Mourning in custody

Dealing with sudden death
WithJane Jervis

This chapter considers the nature, context and impact of sudden death within the criminal justice system. Bereavement is one of the most distressing emotional experiences encountered and it is widely recognised that one of the most traumatic crisis events that can be experienced is bereavement due to a sudden death. The nature of all sudden deaths often leaves a legacy of unanswered questions and uncertainty for the bereaved. When considering the factors associated with sudden death in the complex and intense arena of the criminal justice system, it is clear that there are additional challenges to be addressed. Sensitive communication is crucial with great importance placed upon training and guidelines for delivering bad news related to sudden death. In cases of unnatural sudden death, the offender may have been involved in the accident or may be considered a perpetrator of the events leading to the sudden death of a relative or friend.