The mother of a Dundee man who died in a young offenders’ institution has spoken of her heartache.
Jordan Barron was found dead in his cell at Polmont in July 2014, aged 19, having apparently taken his own life.
The findings of a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) in front of Sheriff Linda Smith, published this month, said Mr Barron had seen a “breakdown” in therapy at the prison but said this didn’t contribute directly in any way to his death.
Speaking to the Tele on the second anniversary of his death, his mum, Susan Barron, said: “I miss him so much, as much as the day he died. I don’t think I’ll ever get over this.
“I feel the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and NHS Forth Valley let Jordan down. I hold them equally accountable. I’m quite disgusted with how they treated him. The system that was meant to protect him, failed him.
“He was getting anxiety medication in prison and therapy sessions. Then the nurse went on holiday and that broke down, and he ended up taking his life.
“They only had one book with notes from the nurses discussing his treatment. She went on holiday and it all fell apart and Jordan was forgotten about.
“They’ve changed their working practices, which is good. But it’s unfair that it took my son’s life for things to change. And it will never bring him back.”
In the FAI, it was revealed Jordan was taking medication for anxiety but, before his death, had been found to have fewer tablets than he should and the rest were taken from him.
Susan believes they were stolen from him. She said: “His friends in the prison, and security staff, told me he was being bullied for his medication. It would explain why there were tablets missing.
“I don’t know why they give out tablets like that. Why not give him a daily dose and watch him take it? Before he died, he sent me a letter saying, ‘I don’t know what to do’. I think it was because other inmates were bullying him.
“This has taken my life as well as Jordan’s, because he was my life. It’s destroyed me.”
A spokesman for the SPS said it did not have any responsibility for the delivery of mental health treatment or the recruitment of mental health staff.
He added: “We work with partners, including NHS boards, to provide a person-centred caring environment, based on individual assessed need where prisoners who are in distress can ask for help to avert a crisis.”
An NHS Forth Valley spokeswoman said: “We fully understand the family’s distress and their belief that more could have been done to support Jordan.
“Although the inquiry concluded that there was no evidence that the medication prescribed or the break in therapy sessions contributed to his death, a number of changes have already been made to further increase mental health services in Polmont young offenders’ institution.”