Former prison officer sentenced for falsifying records of welfare checks
A former prison officer at HMP Lincoln has been sentenced after he failed to carry out required checks on a vulnerable prisoner and falsified records relating to his care.
Luke Thomas, 32, did not follow the protocol for caring for prisoners who are in danger of self-harm or suicide and need more intensive support. Overnight on 23/24 June, a prisoner in the Care and Separation Unit at the Category B jail was under the care of Thomas, who was the only prison officer on duty.
Under the care plan, Thomas should have made welfare checks on the prisoner five times each hour throughout the night, but CCTV showed that he carried out only 15 of the 48 checks required.
The prisoner, who was distressed during the night, rang his cell bell a number of times, but this was not answered promptly. On one occasion this was not answered for 37 minutes, when the guidance is that these should be answered within five minutes.
In addition, Thomas falsified the records by recording that he had carried out all of the checks required under the plan.
When another officer came on duty just before 7am, he visited the prisoner’s cell and found that he had taken his own life.
Thomas pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office and was today sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Lincoln Crown Court.
Rosemary Ainslie, head of CPS Special Crime Division, said: “Luke Thomas carried out less than half of the required checks on the vulnerable prisoner in his care and falsified records to make it appear that he had been performing the regular checks.
“His conviction reflects a gross and reprehensible failure in his duties as prison officer.”
Notes to editors
- Luke Thomas (DOB: 19/09/1990) pleaded guilty to one count of misconduct in public office. He was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and 250 hours of unpaid work.