Prisoner died of cancer while still chained to prison guard

 

A 67-year-old prisoner with terminal liver cancer died while still chained to a guard as he underwent end of life treatment in hospital, it has emerged.

The inmate, who has not been named, had been convicted of manslaughter in 1969 and was unable to move unaided. He had lost all contact with his family and had been compliant with the prison regime, the report found.

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) said managers at category C HMP Channings Wood did not show appropriate compassion or act upon medical evidence by failing to remove the handcuffs.

The case was one of 51 incidents in the past five years in which the prison authorities used inappropriate levels of restraint on inmates, in the majority of cases when they were in hospital.

This accounted for more than one in 10 of all deaths by natural causes in jail over the period and comes amid mounting concern over the standard of care afforded Britain’s ageing and ailing prison population. Inmates aged over 60 are now the fastest growing section of the prison population and last year the number of deaths in custody by natural causes was 142 – up 20 on the previous year.

PPO Nigel Newcomen, who investigates all inmate deaths, said the Prison Service was too heavy-handed in its treatment of many seriously ill and dying inmates. “There is, inevitably, a balance to be struck between decency and security. However our investigations have shown that the correct balance is not consistently being achieved. Too often an overly risk-averse approach is taken when frail, immobile or even unconscious prisoners remain restrained,” he said.

In another case highlighted in the Learning Lessons Bulletin, a bed-ridden prisoner in his 70s had restraints reapplied while he was cared for in a hospice, despite an earlier order to remove them.

In the third example, a category A prisoner serving a life sentence since 1999, and who was considered a significant escape risk, was shackled for four days while in a medically-induced coma, following a medical procedure after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. He had previously been escorted by three guards and made to wear double shackles while he was transported.

Campaign groups said ministers must act urgently to put an end to the use of unnecessary restraints while  patients are undergoing treatment or travelling to and from hospital.

Prison Reform Trust director Juliet Lyon said: “No one is talking about luxury or special treatment here but, in the interests of common humanity and decency, justice and health ministers must now review the treatment of increasing numbers of elderly people and those dying in prison.”

Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform said: “Some of the cases outlined in this bulletin are truly shocking. Prisoners who are seriously ill or dying are among the most vulnerable people in society and it beggars belief that even being in a medically-induced coma cannot excuse you from restraint.”

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “The use of restraints during escorts must always be proportionate to risk but sometimes is necessary to protect the public and prison officers from violent offenders.”

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil