Brian Sims

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, aged 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 located 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 these calls were not answered promptly. On one occasion, the call was not answered for 37 minutes, when the guidance states that any such distress call should be answered within five minutes.

In addition, Thomas falsified the records of events that transpired by recording that he had carried out all of the checks required under the plan.

When another officer began his duties just before 7.00 am, he visited the prisoner’s cell and found that the man had taken his own life.

Guilty plea

At Lincoln Crown Court, Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of misconduct in public office and has been sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s Special Crime Division, explained: “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.”

Ainslie concluded: “Thomas’ conviction reflects a gross and reprehensible failure in his duties as a prison officer.”

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