Prisoner fell to his loss of life climbing over railing in protest over remedy


A prisoner fell to his death after climbing over a railing in protest after his prescribed medication was stolen.

David Atkinson, 42, was on a methadone program and was also prescribed the anti-anxiety drug pregabalin.

However, in January 2018 he told HMP Humber staff that the pregabalin had been stolen and he needed more, reports Hull Live.

He was told that a prison doctor would need to conduct an investigation before any more medication could be prescribed.

After two days, however, he became increasingly restless and ended up climbing over a railing on the first floor in protest before stumbling and falling.

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He suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to the hospital. But Mr Atkinson never recovered and died on January 16, 2018. The prison’s Ombudsman, Elizabeth Moody, conducted an inquiry and the report has now been released.

Mr Atkinson was convicted of assault and violating a restraining order on October 10, 2017 and sentenced to 26 weeks in prison with a parole date set for January 8, 2018 – just days after his death.

During his time in prison, Mr Atkinson had tested positive for illegal drugs and there were concerns about his behavior and was described as “frequently aggressive and had a bad attitude towards staff”.

On January 3, 2018, he was given pregabalin for seven days but told staff later that day that the drugs had been stolen.

When told he would have to wait to see a GP before more medication could be administered, Mr Atkinson acted “aggressively and unpredictably”. Then he threatened to kill himself if he didn’t get it.

Mr Atkinson told staff he was suffering from withdrawal symptoms and was in pain. He then told a fellow inmate that he would climb over the railing to protest his medication.

CCTV footage shows that after Mr Atkinson climbed over the railing, he put his foot on a red alarm bell to steady himself, but it was unable to support his weight and gave way, causing him to fall to the ground.

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Ms. Moody identified a number of concerns following her investigation and listed three specific findings.

In the report, she said: “Staff have not started monitoring ACCT (suicide and self-harm proceedings) despite Mr Atkinson harming himself and threatening to kill himself.

“This decision might have been understandable had effective alternative steps been taken to understand and address his concerns. It wasn’t you.

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“A GP should have checked Mr Atkinson’s medicines when he told staff they had been stolen. This didn’t happen.

“Humber has begun to review its policy of allowing prisoners to keep tradable prescription drugs in their cells and self-administer what is known as drug possession. We believe this work should be given priority.”

Ms Moody then made a number of recommendations following Mr Atkinson’s death.

She said: “The governor should ensure that staff initiate ACCT procedures when a prisoner has recently self-harmed, has expressed suicidal intent, or has other significant risk factors.

“If, exceptionally, they decide not to initiate ACCT procedures for prisoners with significant risk factors, they should clearly state the reasons.

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“The chief health officer should ensure that all clinical staff refer prisoners to GPs when reporting a lack of their medication so that decisions about re-prescribing medication are fully considered and made promptly.

“The governor and chief health officer should ensure that the ongoing work on the administration of pregabalin and other tradable drugs is urgently completed and that Humber’s drug possession policy is updated to reflect any changes made.”

HMP Humber bosses were also asked why there was no safety net on the wing. They informed the Ombudsman that the railings on the wing were sufficiently high to prevent prisoners from accidentally falling off or being pushed over. They said no concerns had been previously raised.

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