Northern Ireland

Concerns raised about Northern Ireland convict death

The body that investigates complaints about Northern Ireland's prisons has highlighted 14 areas of concern surrounding the death of a man a day after he was released from jail.

A post-mortem examination found he died from pneumonia.

However, toxicology tests suggested he had taken illicit and prescribed drugs that may have hampered his breathing.

The Prison Service said it was working with a range of partners to reduce the supply and demand for illicit drugs.

The Prisoner Ombudsman's office, which investigates all deaths in custody, said several of the issues it had identified also featured in its previous reports.

These included the availability and management of drugs in prison.

The man, referred to only as Mr D, had suffered chronic leg and back pain, and had been allowed to self-administer high doses of painkillers while in prison.

Paul Cawkwell, Prison Service director of offender policy and operations, said: "The ombudsman's report has raised a number of important issues, and the Prison Service will continue to work closely with our healthcare colleagues in the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust to reduce levels of prescription medication misuse in prisons.

"We are also working with a range of partners to reduce both the supply of, and demand for, illicit drugs in prison, with much greater emphasis now placed on intelligence-led searching and on education programmes within the prison."

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