Armley Prison: HMP Leeds warned about mental health provision after another prisoner takes their own life

Dominic Comfort was remanded at HMP Leeds charged with carrying an offensive weaponDominic Comfort was remanded at HMP Leeds charged with carrying an offensive weapon
Dominic Comfort was remanded at HMP Leeds charged with carrying an offensive weapon
HMP Leeds has been told to conduct a review into its mental health support after another prisoner took their own life.

Dominic Comfort, 23, was found hanged in his cell at Armley Prison on November 13, 2017, and an ombudsman’s report into the circumstances has been published.

Elizabeth Moody, the author of the report, recommended that the prison review its mental health care provision, writing: “We are concerned that this is not the first time that we have found deficiencies in mental health provision at Leeds.”

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Mr Comfort was remanded in custody after appearing in magistrates court on November 7 charged with possession of an offensive weapon. He had previously been imprisoned for five years for a serious sexual offence and was released in 2010.

The report reads that Mr Comfort had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, personality disorder, illicit drug use, self-harm and attempted suicide.

It states that upon his arrival at Leeds, staff immediately monitored him under Prison Service suicide and self-harm prevention procedures (known as ACCT) as he had said he was “certain he would self-harm while in prison”.

On November 13, at 6.50pm, an officer found Mr Comfort hanged in his cell. She requested an ambulance and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

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Officers and medical staff attended, and resuscitation continued until paramedics arrived, at which point Mr Comfort was taken to the intensive care unit at hospital, where he was placed on life support.

On November 19, hospital doctors withdrew life support and on November 22, at 2.00am, Mr Comfort was pronounced dead.

The ombudsman found that the ACCT procedures were “correctly conducted” and that Mr Comfort made no attempts at self-harm until the events of November or informed staff that he had thoughts of suicide.

The review found “concerns” over Mr Comfort’s mental health care as he had no contact with a mental health professional after he was first assessed after entering the prison and did not receive a full mental health assessment.

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The ombudsman’s recommendation reads: “The Head of Healthcare, the healthcare Commissioners and the Governor should review mental health care provision at HMP Leeds. The review should address the prison’s capacity to deliver mental health assessments and ongoing interventions effectively, and its ability to support the ACCT process.”

HMP Leeds was contacted for a comment.