Prison service ‘should review procedures’ after death in custody from alcohol withdrawal

The Irish Prison Service has been encouraged to review its procedures for assessing alcohol dependence after a homeless man died from alcohol withdrawal in custody, the Irish Examiner reports.

Dublin Coroners’ Court heard that rough sleeper Josef Gembicky, 58, died two weeks after being committed for breach of bail conditions to Cloverhill Prison, where staff did not his history with alcohol.

He was remanded in custody on 30 May 2015, found unwell on 2 June, and eventually died in Tallaght Hospital on 13 June 2015.

Mr Gembicky was from Eastern Europe and his limited English caused problems with filling out forms, but the court heard he expressly denied a history of alcoholism in an interview with the prison doctor.

His death was attributed to pneumonia due to brain damage due to epileptic seizures due to alcohol withdrawal, and inhalation of vomit.

The jury at Dublin Coroners’ Court returned a verdict of misadventure and recommended that the Irish Prison Service review its procedures on information exchange to review their effectiveness.

Irish Legal News contacted the Irish Prison Service for comment but did not receive a response by time of publication.