Durham Prison criticised over vulnerable inmate's hanging death – BBC

Urgent improvements are needed to safeguard inmates at Durham Prison, an investigation into the death of a prisoner found hanged has said.
Michael Smith, 32, from Middlesbrough, was discovered in his cell in the segregation unit in July 2020.
An inquest found officers' restraint techniques were "disproportionate".
Prison Ombudsman Sue McAllister said it was the seventh time in four years she had identified failures over the risk of suicide or self-harm at HMP Durham.
In her report on Smith's death, she said: "Despite several risks for suicide and self-harm, staff did not identify Mr Smith's increased risk and failed to monitor him under suicide and self-harm prevention procedures."
A health screening assessment on Smith was carried out without a nurse seeing him, she found.
Ms McAllister said the "first use of force" was "not necessary or justified".
Although the restraints did not cause Smith's death directly, "they may have contributed to his state of mind at the time he hanged himself", she said.
Her report calls for the prison's governor and the prison group director, who has oversight of Durham and other prisons in the Tees and Wear regions, to ensure improvements are made "as a matter of urgency".
She said: "This is the seventh time since January 2019 that I have identified concerns at Durham's failure to identify risk factors for suicide and self-harm."
An inquest into Smith's death found there had been "a breakdown of communication between prison officers and healthcare over whether Michael was under the influence of drugs".
Senior assistant coroner Crispin Oliver said action should be taken to deal with a "critical lack of staffing" at the prison.
The jury was shown body-camera footage of Smith being restrained twice by three prison officers escorting him to the segregation unit.
The inquest had heard that Smith's father warned prison staff his son was a suicide risk but the information was not passed on.
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