Changes at prison after teen’s death

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A SERIES of changes have been made to Scotland’s main young offenders’ institution following the death of a Dundee teenager.

Jordan Barron was found dead in his cell at Polmont in July 2014, aged 19, having been sent to detention for four months over culpable and reckless conduct and cannabis possession offences. It’s believed he had taken his own life.

A fatal accident inquiry was held in front of Sheriff Linda Smith, who has published her findings into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Sheriff Smith said Mr Barron had seen a “breakdown” in therapy sessions within the institution, and while this didn’t contribute directly in any way to his death, the meetings may have helped with observation and assessment by a mental health professional.

The sheriff’s determination said Mr Barron missed appointments after his own healthcare worker went off at short notice.

After his death, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and NHS Forth Valley carried out operational and learning reviews, with Sheriff Smith adding: “These initiatives were implemented towards the end of 2014 and, as a result, there are now weekly clinical review meetings, a shared diary system, provision for staff absences, caseload reviews and staffing increased from three full-time mental health nurses to four full-time mental health nurses.”

A part-time mental health nurse has also been introduced.

Meanwhile, the determination said Mr Barron was found to have fewer tablets of a prescribed anti-anxiety drug on him than anticipated, meaning the remaining tablets were taken off him.

But the mental health nurse involved couldn’t recall how it was dealt with.

Sheriff Smith said new medication spot-check forms had been introduced.

A spokeswoman for the SPS said: “We work together with partners, including NHS boards, to provide a person-centred caring environment based on individual-assessed need, where prisoners in distress can ask for help to avert a crisis.”

A spokesman for NHS Forth Valley said after a joint review with the SPS changes were made to further increase the mental health services and support available. This included additional mental health nursing staff and the introduction of weekly clinical review meetings.

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