Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Ombudsman and Mr A

One result of the 1990 riots was the establishment of a Prisons Ombudsman to act as a final stage in investigating complaints by prisoners.

Whilst I have severe criticisms about the attitude and operation of the Ombudsman, his Annual Report reveals (to a disinterested nation) the underbelly of prison life. It is a tale of ineptitude, ignorance and plain callous stupidity on the part of prison staff. I recommend you read it ( For those who are too busy to do so, I offer the tale of Mr A, as relayed by the Ombudsman. Note that the sarcasm is mine.

Mr A was in his seventies when given a long prison sentence. On arrival in prison it was noted he suffered several chronic diseases, including arthritis and lung disease. He was later diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

He was placed in an NHS hospital with two prison staff as a guard. The governor decided that Mr A posed such a high risk that he insisted that he remained handcuffed. After all, being bedridden with lung cancer surely wouldn't prevent him leaping out of bed like an arthritic Ninja and swiftly overpowering of two of the prison services finest...

After only two days in hospital, Mr A's condition was so poor that the Last Rites were administered. In a fit of what can surely only be described as overwhelming compassion, an hour after that the governor agreed that his handcuffs should be removed. Mr A died shortly afterwards.

My adult life has been littered with the knowledge of such malign, incompetent inhumanity. I hope you will excuse me if, on occasion, my posts carry a tinge of bitterness and deep anger.


  1. It is unbelievable - where is common decency and humanity? I know it is not in the prison service but where is it to be found?

    Which part of justice does this situation demonstrate?

    I agree with your anger Ben.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Ben. I tend to forget about the Ombudsman and focus on the Inspectors. Will have a dig around this and publise what I find.

    Happy New Year and keep up the good struggle.

  3. Honestly, sounds ok to me. Was he a kiddie fiddler? must have been something like that.


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