A 38-year-old inmate of Cloverhill prison died in his hospital bed with his electronic tag still on — and it stayed on the deceased for a further five hours before finally being removed.
Two prisoner officers also remained at the man’s bedside at St Vincent’s Hospital as the Dubliner took his last breath on October 31, 2015.
As a result, the Inspector of Prisons, Helen Casey, has recommended that the Irish Prison Service (IPS) review a number of aspects around the use of electronic tags for seriously ill prisoners.
She also recommended that the use of electronic tagging in conjunction with prison escort personnel should be reviewed, given the associated costs.
The prisoner had a history of liver problems and was awaiting a liver transplant at the time of his death.
Ms Casey made the recommendations after the man’s family expressed concern over the nature of his incarceration in his final days.
According to Ms Casey’s report, the family asked why the electronic monitoring tag was left on after his death and why prison officers were at the deceased’s bedside.
The family said the man was tagged and too ill to go anywhere. The prisoner had an electronic monitoring device fitted and activated from Friday October 2, 2015 until October 31, 2015.
The IPS confirmed that two prison officers were present with the deceased from the time the monitoring device was fitted until the time of his death. The man was not on temporary release while at St Vincent’s Hospital and the IPS stated he was on a hospital order.
The prison governor sought temporary release for the prisoner on the afternoon of October 31, to allow for the removal of the two prison escort officers.
Ms Casey’s report states: “This request had been approved on the late afternoon of the 31 October 2015 but the deceased passed away before the prison officer escort was removed.”
The man was jailed on January 11, 2014 and was due for release on January 6, 2017.
The man’s family informed Ms Casey that he had served previous stints in prison. He lost the sight of his left eye following an assault by another prisoner in April 2015 during an unprovoked attack.
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