UPDATE: '˜Woodhill Prison has blood on its hands', say family of latest inmate to die there
Woodhill prison has come under fire after yet another inmate has been found hanging - despite desperate pleas from his family about his mental health.
Thomas Morris, 31, from Emberton, is the sixth person to die at the trouble-plagued jail in seven months.
The tragedy came just weeks after Thomas’s life was saved by a fellow inmate who found him attempting to kill himself in his cell with a ligature made out of a bed sheet.
His furious father Ralph Morris wrote to Woodhill officials in April, asking for help for Thomas and expressing concerns about his welfare.
“I warned them he was depressed and acting strangely. He’d told us he felt as though bugs were crawling around inside his head. Something was clearly not right and we were desperately worried,” he told the Citizen.
“The prison wrote back to me saying they had spoken to Thomas and he was ok.”
Those words today are haunting the Morris family, who are now calling for an urgent inquiry into the grim spate of deaths.
“As far as I’m concerned, Woodhill prison has blood on its hands over the way it treated my son. All we can do is ensure no more lives are lost in this place,” said Mr Morris.
Fellow inmates were so upset about Thomas’s death that they sent messages to the Citizen expressing “disgust” at the way he had been treated.
“He asked officers for help for depression and they did nothing. In fact they taunted him for it,” claimed one source.
“He had tried to hang himself previously so they should have been altered and offered him expert help. But all the prison did after that first attempt was strip him of privileges and give him just the basics,” he added.
Mr Morris, who was serving a nine month sentence for drugs, died on Saturday. He had just three months left to serve. He is the 14th inmate to die at Woodhill since 2013, and his death comes less than eight weeks after the body of Michael Cameron was found hanging in a remand cell.
Mr Cameron had arrived at the prison just 10 days previously and had been assessed by experts as very high risk of suicide, claimed sources at the time.
The spate of deaths since late last year has prompted concern from Her Majesty’s Prison Inspectorate, which described the number of tragedies as “unacceptably high”.
The Citizen called Woodhill for a comment but the phone was unanswered. The Ministry of Justice press office was continuously engaged as we went to press.