Neglect contributed to inmate’s death

By Siobhan Fletcher   |   Reporter   |
Thursday 12th May 2022 11:14 am
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The Isle of Man Prison has promised that improvements are being made following the death on an inmate.

An inquest into the death of Kaan Douglas concluded on Friday.

The jury found that the prison neglected its duty to protect the 29-year-old from self-harm in custody.

Mr Douglas was found dead in his cell on March 31, 2020.

He had been taken to the prison in Jurby on March 30 after he was refused bail on a charge of provoking behaviour.

The case was adjourned for a social enquiry report to be compiled and bail was refused due to concerns about his welfare and the risk of further offending.

Once at the prison, he was taken to an introductory cell.

As reported by BBC Isle of Man, prison staff made checks through the hatch of his cell at 30-minute intervals throughout the night and stated that they saw Mr Douglas in his bed each time.

However, medics said he was estimated to have died as a result of asphyxia up to nine hours before his body was discovered in his cell at about 8am.

Following the inquest’s conclusion, the government expressed its ‘heartfelt condolences’.

In a statement, they said: ‘Following the conclusion of the inquest into the death in custody of Kaan Douglas, the Prison and Probation Service and our associated agencies would like to pass on our heartfelt condolences to all of Kaan’s family, friends and loved ones.

‘We can only imagine the pain that the last two years have brought to you all, and we sincerely hope this inquest has brought you some closure. This has been a difficult two weeks for all involved.’

They added: ‘The Department of Home Affairs is grateful to the officers of the Prison and Probation Service for their openness, honesty and empathy.

‘This gave the jury a factual and honest account of Kaan’s time in custody to enable them to reach their decision.

‘Deaths in custody are rare in the Isle of Man and the department takes its responsibilities under the Custody Act seriously.

‘Immediately after Kaan’s death, work began to make improvements that would reduce the possibility of another family having to endure this loss.’

It added: ‘The Coroner has been informed of this work and the ongoing efforts to ensure that those who are in custody at the Isle of Man Prison continue to be kept safe, particularly those who are most vulnerable.’

Indeed, former governor Bob McColm told the inquest that some items were banned at the jail ‘immediately’ after Mr Douglas’ death.

Prisoner escort forms received on arrival are now also sent to all staff and managers.

These changes came after it was revealed that Mr Douglas had told court dock officers and police that he wanted to harm himself prior to his transfer.

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