Doncaster prisoner's ecstasy death prompts changes

The death of a Doncaster prisoner who took ecstasy smuggled in by his partner has prompted changes to care for inmates.

Friday, 12th April 2019, 3:30 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd April 2019, 1:23 pm

Daniel Stokes died on November 30, 2015, despite efforts by staff to resuscitate him, after the 34-year-old was discovered having a seizure in his cell at HMP Lindholme.

He was found to have taken ecstasy supplied by his partner, who was later sentenced to four years behind bars after admitting giving him the class A drugs.

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HMP Lindholme

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An inquest into his death highlighted concerns about healthcare available for prisoners, which assistant coroner Neil Cameron warned could lead to future deaths unless action is taken.

Mr Cameron wrote to NHS England following the inquest, which ended last November with a conclusion of death by misadventure, urging bosses to act before more lives were lost.

He pointed out that prison healthcare staff had diazepam, which could have been used to treat Mr Stokes, but were not trained or authorised to administer it.

He wrote: “Consideration should be given to the practicality of requiring healthcare staff working within prisons to be trained/authorised to administer diazepam in circumstances where a prisoner may be suffering from the effect of abuse of controlled drugs.

“In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you have the power to take such action.”

Mr Cameron’s report was sent to NHS England in December but has only just been made public.

A spokesperson for the NHS in North East and Yorkshire said: “The coroner’s recommendations in relation to this case have been acted on and we continue to work closely with the prison leadership team and healthcare staff to monitor service improvements and ensure the care and treatment needs of prisoners are being met at HMP Lindholme.”

An investigation by the Prisons & Probation Ombudsman found Mr Stokes died from an accidental drugs overdose and had not intended to kill himself.

Its report, published in July 2017, raised concerns about the availability of drugs within the prison and what it called ‘serious deficiencies’ in the emergency response.

It described the presence and use of illegal drugs as a ‘major problem’ across the nation’s prisons.