Two deaths in 10 days at Midlands Prison

Two deaths of inmates have occurred in the last 10 days in the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise.

Suicide is suspected as the cause of death in both instances, but investigations are ongoing. It is highly unusual for two deaths to occur in such a short time span in a single prison.

The first death in the 830-inmate prison occurred sometime between the evening of January 27 and the following morning when the man’s body was discovered in his cell. According to sources in the prison, the deceased was well-regarded by staff and presented no trouble. He was incarcerated after being convicted of a “one punch” offence that left his victim severely injured.

The second death was discovered on the afternoon of Tuesday last. The deceased was in protective custody which involves being locked up in a cell for 23 hours a day. Sources in the prison say he had asked the previous Friday to be put into protective custody because he felt his safety was under threat from a gang in another part of the prison.

Most prisoners in protective custody are under special observation which includes a duty of prison officers to check in on the prisoner every 15 minutes. In recent cases of deaths by suicide, there has been some controversy when it was retrospectively discovered that a deceased prisoner had not been checked for a matter of hours. The Inspector of Prisons has criticised staff for this failure.

A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service told the Irish Examiner that the two deaths will be investigated by the service, the inspector, and An Garda Síochána.

Last night, Virgin Media One showed the first part of a documentary on life in the Midlands Prison.

More on this topic

Prison authorities not giving 'sufficient attention' to circumstances around vulnerable inmate deaths

Families campaign to ensure killers stay in prison

Report into surveillance in prisons due out soon

Michael Clifford: Keeping a close eye on Flanagan’s next move

More in this Section

Gardaí launch murder investigation into death of woman in Mayo

Latest poll indicates five-point lead for Fianna Fáil

Farmers misled by Government on EU beef fund, claims TD

Post-mortem carried out on Mayo woman found dead yesterday


Appliance of science: Why does your stomach rumble?

We can overcome with historical unification of mankind

Tolerance for a rural way of life

Exploding stars put humans in upright positions

More From The Irish Examiner