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New prison policies following death of inmate

Inquest into death of 28-year-old continues

Report by BBC Isle of Man.

More guidelines to identify vulnerable prisoners are among now policies adopted at the Isle of Man Prison following the death of an inmate, an inquest has heard.

Craig Anderson, 28, was found unresponsive on the morning of 25 November 2022, the day after he was sentenced to five years in jail.

Senior prison officer Stephen Winchester said that since Mr Anderson's death, there were more guidelines to help officers "spot indications" that an individual should be classified as vulnerable.

A note of historical mental health incidents was also to be passed on to custody officers, through a prisoner escort record form which is now checked by senior officers, he said.

The inquest previously heard that employees of an outsourced firm Bidvest Noonan, responsible for transportation to court and prisoner welfare while at court, were not aware that Mr Anderson had recently been subject to measures for vulnerable inmates.

Mr Winchester, who is principal officer for residential services, said prisoner escort record forms were now checked to ensure they were completed fully before being passed on the firm's employees.

He said the prison's self-harm management protocol at the time of Mr Anderson's death, known as a folder five, had since been replaced by a document called Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT).

Under that policy there were "more guidelines" to identify vulnerable prisoners and the officer who initiated the ACCT process should "follow through" with that case, where possible, Mr Winchester.

That meant the initial officer should undertake subsequent reviews and determine when their initial concerns about the prisoner have subsided, he added.

Douglas Courthouse heard that Mr Anderson had been on a folder five three times since being placed on remand in July 2022, meaning he had been subject to observations and restricted access to items.

Deemster Graeme Cook highlighted that on the first two occasions the measures had taken place for approximately three weeks, but the last folder five was open for two days between 16 and 18 November.

On that occasion it had been put in place as a result of concerns over how Mr Anderson would react to his upcoming sentence on 24 November.

A letter that Mr Anderson wrote to his sister following his sentencing was read to the court in which he said that his behaviours had been "atrocious", he "needs his family back", and would use the time in prison to "become a better person".

The inquest at Douglas Courthouse continues.

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