Sarah Reed : Care failings contributed to death in prison, inquest finds

Sarah Reed
Sarah Reed

source: The Guardian
published: 20 July 2017

A jury at the inquest of Sarah Reed, a mentally ill prisoner at HMP Holloway who took her life at the jail last year, has identified serious shortcomings in her care.

Reed was in prison awaiting medical reports about whether she was mentally fit to plead after being charged with assaulting a nurse in a secure psychiatric unit. The reports found she was unfit to plead, but Reed killed herself three days before they were due to be completed.

The jury concluded that Reed, 32, killed herself at a time when the balance of her mind was disturbed, but they were unsure whether she had intended to do so. They said a failure in management of her medication and the failure to conclude the fitness to plead assessment in a timely manner contributed to her subsequent death.

They also had concerns about suicide and self-harm report monitoring and believed that Reed did not receive adequate treatment in prison for her high levels of distress.

Deborah Coles, director of Inquest, a charity providing expertise on state-related deaths, condemned the fact that Reed was in prison at all, given her serious mental illness.

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