Teenage prisoner killed himself after staff failed to recognise his history of self-harm

Young offender in prison cell source: The Guardian
published: 22 December 2016

A teenage prisoner killed himself after he was transferred to a new institution, where staff failed to recognise his history of self-harm as a risk factor, an inquest jury has ruled.

Josh Collinson, 18, was found hanged at Swinfen Hall young offender institution in Staffordshire on 3 September last year.

He had been transferred the previous day from Parc prison, in south Wales, where he had self-harmed on six occasions and been placed on a list of at-risk prisoners.

The inquest jury at South Staffordshire coroner’s court found that Collinson should have been on the register – known as an Assessment Care, Custody, Teamwork (ACCT) register – after he had self-harmed six times at his previous prison.

Deborah Coles, the director of the charity Inquest, said Collinson’s death was preventable and an example of the catastrophic consequences of failures in assessment of vulnerable prisoners and sharing of vital information.

“The failures to protect vulnerable teenagers with mental health and learning disabilities were well documented in Lord Harris’s review of the deaths of young people in custody,” she said.

“The failure of government to implement the Harris review recommendations is resulting in the ongoing number of people dying alone and in despair in prisons. It is shameful.”

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