Call for changes after jail deaths

An inmate who made a suicide attempt, which was deemed “not serious” by prison staff, was found dead just over an hour later after he took his own life.

The death of the 23-year-old in Mountjoy Prison is one of two in the latest reports from the Inspector of Prisons highlighting flaws in procedures and communications in the prison system.

Judge Michael O’Reilly found the man, who died in March 2015, had been classified as a special observation inmate in Wheatfield Prison but was later transferred at his own request to Mountjoy.

Judge O’Reilly said: “There was no documentation made available to me to suggest that a comprehensive assessment was carried out subsequent to the transfer of the deceased to Mountjoy Prison, that relevant personnel were consulted, that the deceased’s vulnerability was considered, that the status of the deceased as being on ‘special obs’ was taken into account, that a care plan was formulated or that directions were given as to the appropriate accommodation or care for the deceased.”

Another case involved the death of a 36-year-old man from a suspected drugs overdose in the Midlands Prison in May last year after a failure to carry out a requested drug search of his cell.

Judge O’Reilly’s report found that the man was doing well in prison until his cousin was sent there and the two asked to be allowed share a cell. Almost immediately, prison staff noticed suspicious activity around the cell and a drug search was ordered but neither of the two senior staff to whom the request was emailed received their emails.

The inmate was found dead by his cousin in his cell bed the next morning.


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