published: January 2017
An inquest jury found that “neglect” contributed to the death of a young father who died in HMP Chelmsford after being taking into custody when he was in severe mental health crisis.
The jury found that Dean Saunders and his family were “let down by serious failings in both mental health care and the prison system” and said that Care UK, the private company that runs healthcare at the prison, “treated financial consideration as a significant reason to reduce the level of observations” of Dean, despite repeated warnings of his state of mind.
They concluded that Dean killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed and that the cause of death was “contributed to by neglect”.
Dean Saunders, 25, was found dead in the prison on 4 January 2016 after electrocuting himself. It was his first time in prison. Dean showed signs of acute mental ill health in the days before his imprisonment.
He was taken from his home by the police on 16 December 2015 after an incident during which he tried to take his own life. At the police station, he was not detained under the Mental Health Act and transferred to hospital. Instead, he was charged and subsequently transferred to HMP & YOI Chelmsford.