Category Archives: Prisons & Probation Ombudsman

PPO Confirms Concerns Raised By Inspection of HMP Nottingham

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, who investigates deaths and complaints in prisons, echoed the findings of the Chief Inspector of Prisons’ report of an inspection at HMP Nottingham.

The Acting PPO, Elizabeth Moody, said: “It is highly troubling that HMP Nottingham has a history of failing to implement recommendations from our investigations into deaths at the prison”.

The PPO makes recommendations following investigations into deaths in prisons so that the prison service can learn from mistakes and prevent them being made in the future.  Final PPO reports on deaths investigations are not published until the end of inquests but important findings and recommendations that could lead to greater safety in a prison are shared with the prison and HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) as they emerge.

Elizabeth Moody added: “It is a matter of great concern that we found some similarities, not only between the deaths of the five prisoners who took their own lives last autumn, but also with deaths which happened earlier in the year and before.  The Chief Inspector is right to highlight the apparent inability of the prison to learn lessons and I agree that until it can demonstrate progress in this critical area the risk of future deaths will remain high.”

She also said: “Complaints from prisoners frequently indicate poor custodial care.  I am troubled that my office upheld proportionately more complaints from prisoners at HMP Nottingham, than in other similar prisons.  This is consistent with the findings of the Chief Inspector and should be a source of concern to the management of HMPPS.”

The Chief Inspector, Peter Clarke, wrote publicly to David Gauke on 18 January, invoking a new procedure to demand urgent action on HMP Nottingham from the Justice Secretary. He raised concerns over eight apparent self-inflicted deaths at HMP Nottingham in the two years up to January 2018, as well as high levels of self-harm.

At the same time, Elizabeth Moody raised key concerns with the Ministry of Justice which had been identified in her investigations into recent deaths at the prison:

  • The importance of initial identification in prisoners of risk of suicide or self-harm.
  • Assessment and management of those individuals, particularly applying multi-disciplinary assessment rather than relying on the way the prisoner presents and talks on arrival in the jail.
  • Referring mental health concerns and issues to healthcare or other experts.
  • The importance of staff responding, in line with HMIP expectations, when prisoners press their cell call bells and of staff entering cells promptly when prisoners are found unresponsive.
  • Keeping proper medical records.
  • Effective emergency response.

Elizabeth Moody said: “HMPPS is preparing an Action Plan to address the urgent concerns raised by the Chief Inspector, particularly in relation to suicide and self-harm at HMP Nottingham. It is vital that, this time, HMPSS fully incorporates PPO recommendations into the Action Plan. That will help HMP Nottingham create a new culture of safety and protection for vulnerable prisoners. Put simply, it will help save lives and prevent a repetition of the tragedies we saw in 2017.”

Approved premises need more effective focus on drug testing and managing the risks of substance abuse, says Ombudsman

  Approved Premise (APs), home to people released from prison or on bail or court orders, need more effective drug testing practices and better staff guidance to identify and address the risks associated with substance misuse, and support individuals, according to a report by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). Overdoses of opiate and other drugs,… Continue Reading

Prison Deaths From New Psychoactive Substances Rises To 79 Says Ombudsman

The number of prisoner deaths in which the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) may have played a part has now risen to at least 79, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) Nigel Newcomen. Tonight (11/7/2017) he addressed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Penal Affairs at the House of Lords. Looking back at his six-year… Continue Reading

Older Prisoners: 4 Years & 5 Justice Secretary’s After Justice Committee Produced A Report on Older Prisoners – Still No Progress

HM Prison and Probation Service needs a national strategy to address the needs of the increasing numbers of elderly prisoners living – and dying – in jail so that they can be managed and cared for more appropriately, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) Nigel Newcomen. Today he published a report on older prisoners. One… Continue Reading

Six prison homicides in one year reflect unacceptable level of prison violence, says Ombudsman

Homicides in prison are still rare but the number has increased, vividly illustrating the unacceptable level of violence in prisons in England and Wales, said Nigel Newcomen, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). Today he published a bulletin on lessons that can be learned from his investigations. The PPO investigates all deaths in custody and his… Continue Reading

Better Safety Must Underpin Prison Reform Says Ombudsman As Suicides, Homicides and Deaths From Natural Causes Reach Record Levels

The past year saw a 34% rise in prison suicides, more deaths from natural causes and the highest number of homicides in prison for many years, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen. Today he published his fifth and final annual report and warned that prison reform could stall without a focus on safety and… Continue Reading

Use of Force ‘should be a last resort in Jails’ says Ombudsman

Staff face enormous challenges in keeping order and control in prisons, and the use of force must always be an option, but it should be a measure of last resort, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) Nigel Newcomen. Today he published a bulletin on further lessons that can be learned from investigations into complaints about… Continue Reading

Prison staff missing vital clues about prisoner suicide risks says Ombudsman

Staff in prisons need to get better at spotting and using essential information about the risk of suicide among prisoners, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) Nigel Newcomen. Today he published a bulletin on the lessons that can be learned from investigations into the self-inflicted deaths of prisoners within the first month of custody. This… Continue Reading

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR PRISONERS NEED TO IMPROVE FURTHER, SAYS OMBUDSMAN

Some improvement has been made in managing the mental health needs of prisoners, but there is still a long way to go, said Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen. Today he published a review on prisoner mental health arising from his investigations into deaths in custody. Mental ill-health is one of the most prevalent and… Continue Reading

Inmate dies after prison assault

A prisoner who was allegedly punched by another inmate at HMP Rochester has died. Fraser Stent, 28, died in hospital a week after the alleged incident at HMP Rochester, a Prison Service spokeswoman said. Kent Police were called to the jail on October 12 and a 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault and… Continue Reading

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