Preventing suicides “not worth benefits” says Corrections

Press Release – The Howard League for Penal Reform

The Howard League for Penal Reform says the Department of Corrections must improve its IT systems to prevent further suicides following a damning Coroner’s report.

Preventing suicides “not worth the benefits” says Corrections
The Howard League for Penal Reform says the Department of Corrections must improve its IT systems to prevent further suicides following a damning Coroner’s report.

The Coroner’s inquest into the suicide of Kerry Joll at Rimutaka Prison in May last year strongly criticises the Department for failing to update its IT systems so that staff can tell whether an inmate is a suicide risk.

The Department has refused to act on the Coroner’s advice, saying “improving our current information systems is regarded as not worth the benefits it would bring because of cost, complexity and the proportionately few incidents it would benefit.”

Howard League spokesperson Madeleine Rose says the Department’s attitude is shocking.

“Kerry Joll’s suicide could have been prevented if staff had been aware of his previous attempts and the factors that made him vulnerable to try again.

“Mr Joll had a long history of problems with alcohol and was in prison at the time on his tenth drink driving offence. He had recently stopped his antidepressants and was known to be at risk of further attempts.

“This information was all available on Mr Joll’s records, however the Department’s IT systems weren’t able to give staff that information when they needed it.

“Coroners have repeatedly said this is an issue that needs to be addressed, and the Department’s attitude that human lives are ‘not worth the beneifts’ is simply shocking”.

Inmates are eleven times more likely to commit suicide than the national average.

ENDS

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