THE death of an inmate at Winchester prison has revealed that the Ministry of Justice allowed staff to work in the prison without suicide prevention training, against its own policy.

Father-of-two Sean Plumstead was found hanging in his cell days after asking a staff member the best way to take his own life.

Now, responses from Carillion and the HM Prison and Probation Service relating to the 27-year-old's death at HMP Winchester show that government contracts failed to include the requirement for all prisoner-facing staff to undertake suicide and self-harm prevention training, against Ministry of Justice guidance.

A jury at Mr Plumstead's inquest last October found the prison’s failure to instigate self-harm support measures contributed to Mr Plumstead’s death, and that a lack of training of agency staff was “particularly concerning.”

Around two days before his death Mr Plumstead had asked one of the staff members supervising his work in the prison’s clothing exchange the best way to commit suicide, but the staff member failed to record or report this.

Mr Plumstead, from Hayling Island, was due to be released less than a month later when he was discovered by his cellmate, and he died at Royal Hampshire County Hospital on September 18 in 2016.

Following the inquest at Winchester Coroner's Court, central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report to both HMPPS and Carillion highlighting the lack of compulsory suicide and self-harm prevention training being given to staff.

In a response published by the chief coroner, Michael Spurr, chief executive of HMPPS, said: “I accept that the requirement for prisoner-facing staff to undertake suicide and self-harm prevention training was not specifically brought to the attention of Carillion when their contract began, and I can confirm that a Service Manager’s Instruction will be issued imminently to ensure that Carillion, and our other contractors, are made aware of the requirement and their contractual obligation to comply with it.

“Both HMPPS and Carillion are committed to ensuring that all relevant staff are trained as soon as possible.”

The response by Carillion said: “Having carefully reviewed our contracts with HMPPS there is in fact no contractual requirement upon Carillion and its staff to undergo SASH (suicide and self harm) training, either as a business requirement, key deliverable or at all.

“Accordingly, prior to the inquest touching the death of Mr Plumstead, Carillion was unaware of the requirement for its staff to undergo SASH training.”

Solicitor Clair Hilder, of Hodge Jones and Allen who represented Mr Plumstead’s family, said: “That there was no provision for such training of Carillion staff shows the shocking lack of priority given to self-harm and suicide prevention in prisons despite the latest safety in custody statistics showing record highs of self-harm incidents.”