Family criticise Norwich Prison following death of prisoner

PUBLISHED: 20:26 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:29 20 March 2018

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

The family of a prisoner who died have criticised Norwich Prison for the care he received in the lead-up to his death.

Joe Bartlett, 36, died on April 5, 2017, after being found hanging in his cell.

The jury noted in their conclusions that procedures to reduce risks of self-harm and suicide were not adequately followed and there was insufficient information gathering.

They also said there was a failure to recognise the seriousness of the bullying to which Mr Bartlett, from Colchester in Essex, was subjected and to.

The Prison Service has vowed to ensure lessons are learned.

Mr Bartlett’s mother, Michelle Ford, and his sister, Cassie Bartlett, attended the inquest, which opened at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on March 6 and concluded on Wednesday.

The inquest jury concluded the cause of death was misadventure.

After the verdict, Mr Bartlett’s mother said: “Joe was a much-loved son, brother and father. We have had to hear very harrowing evidence relating to Joe’s final days.

She added: “We sincerely hope lessons have been learnt by the prison to prevent further tragic deaths. We believe abundant opportunities were missed and we hope no other family will have to endure the same tragedy.”

The family was represented at the inquest by Claire Brigham, of London law firm Hodge Jones and Allen, who said: “Joe’s death followed a finding by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in its September 2016 inspection of HMP Norwich that the number of assaults was increasing.

“The Inspectorate criticised the prison’s investigations of these incidents. It is imperative that the proper procedures are now put in place to prevent further deaths.”

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Joe Bartlett.

“We have significantly increased support for vulnerable offenders, especially during the first 24 hours in custody.

“Over 14,300 staff have already received new suicide and self-harm reduction training, and HMP Norwich is reviewing its violence reduction strategy to enable them to better manage perpetrators and support the victims of bullying.

“We have noted the inquest findings and the recommendations from the PPO, and will make sure we learn all possible lessons from this case.”

If you need to talk to someone about issues raised by this article, call the Samaritans on 116 123.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press