By Charlotte Lillywhite, Local Democracy Reporter
A prisoner died of terminal cancer in a London hospital as an application for early release on compassionate grounds was delayed, a report has revealed.
A watchdog has also ruled that Bradley Derosa was also placed in “inappropriate restraints” for more than one month while he was seriously ill, in pain and only mobile for short distances with help.
Mr Derosa died of stomach cancer in hospital on May 26, 2022 while a prisoner at HMP Wandsworth.
The 51-year-old had absconded from another hospital on March 28 that year after struggling to accept his diagnosis, according to a Prisons and Probation Ombudsman report.
Mr Derosa was arrested in hospital on April 18, having gone to hospital the week before where officers applied an escort chain restraints to him – a long chain cuffed at one end to the prisoner and at the other to an officer.
His care was transferred from HMP Norwich to HMP Wandsworth, the closest prison to the hospital, but Wandsworth managers did not carry out their own risk assessment.
They continued to use an escort chain on Mr Derosa in hospital, as police had done, until May 20 when it was not appropriate given his worsening condition.
The governor at Norwich requested Mr Derosa’s prison offender manager begin his application for early release on compassionate grounds on March 28.
The report says: “Mr Derosa absconded the same day and we consider it reasonable that the application was not started during the period he was AWOL.
“However, an application was not started for 18 days following his arrest and recall into custody, at which point his health was very poor and he met all of the ERCG [early release on compassionate grounds] criteria. This was a significant and unacceptable delay. When we asked Wandsworth if there was a reason for this delay, they were unable to provide an explanation.”
Applications for early release on compassionate grounds can be made when prisoners are seriously ill to request they are permanently released from custody before their sentence has expired.
Mr Derosa was remanded to HMP Norwich in June 2020 and sentenced to five years in prison for drugs offences in January 2021. He was placed in a category D open unit at Norwich in July 2021.
He told HMP Norwich that doctors had found something with the “appearance of stomach cancer” on March 16.
Mr Derosa died on May 26. A doctor gave Mr Derosa’s cause of death as stomach cancer which had spread to other parts of the body.
The report said: “We are concerned that Wandsworth failed to undertake their own risk assessment regarding use of restraints on Mr Derosa, which resulted in inappropriate restraints being used for over one month while he was seriously unwell.”
A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Our thoughts remain with Mr Derosa’s friends and family. In response to the ombudsman’s report, HMP Wandsworth has already reissued guidance to staff on appropriate restraint when escorting prisoners to hospital and introduced new processes to make sure terminally ill prisoners are considered for compassionate release at the earliest opportunity.”
Pictured top: HMP Wandsworth (Picture: Google Street View)
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