Prison staff unlawfully restrained Dixon
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 6:21p.m.
By Michael Morrah
An inquest has heard that Corrections staff acted unlawfully when they left convicted killer Antonie Dixon in waist restraints for more than 30 hours.
Dixon was restrained at Mt Eden Prison without prison bosses being notified, just days before he took his own life.
Video footage from February 4, 2009, just hours before it is believed he took his own life, shows Dixon naked and highly agitated in his cell at Auckland Prison's high-risk unit at Paremoremo.
But it was at Mt Eden prison in the days leading up to his death that he had become increasingly unstable.
“Initial observations were [of a] prisoner with a piece of torn rope loosely around his neck, with friction marks completely around the neck region and a cut to the right side of his mouth,” says Maureen Brown, Health Centre manager of Auckland Regional Prison. “He appeared as wild-eyed and paced around the doorway of his cell.”
After that observation was made Dixon was put into a waist restraint, which the court heard was only supposed to be used when transporting inmates.
"Mr Dixon spent over 30 hours in the waist restraints, that is not good,” says former manager of Mt Eden Prison Grace Smit. “That is not a reasonable amount of time."
The court heard not only was it not reasonable, it was illegal. But staff felt it was the best option because Dixon was continuing to self-harm by headbutting the prison wall.
The court heard that medical experts believed Dixon would have been better managed at a forensic mental health centre, but one of the reasons Dixon wasn't referred to the Mason Clinic was because it was completely full with no spare beds.
When Dixon was taken to Auckland Prison's at-risk unit he covered his prison camera with toilet paper. That wasn't cleared for five hours.
When the camera was cleared, Dixon was on the ground and staff were unsuccessfully trying to revive him.
He had been discovered by the only guard on duty, but he didn't enter the cell straight away, instead waiting for three others before going in.
“There was no way we were going to put any staff safety at risk,” says Brian Singh, former manager of the Auckland Prison (Paremoremo) at-risk unit.
Whether that was the right call is something the Coroner will consider in his recommendations.
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30/08/2012 9:54:55 a.m.
Yeah... i know lets all look at blaming someone else for his actions, where is the personal accountability in this!
DIXON was high on meth when he attacked those woman and killed that guy yet he tried pleading insanity as his defence not once but twice and was found sane on both occassions.
If someone is going to commit suicide then there going to do it and we only have him to blame!
30/08/2012 7:54:09 a.m.
He was let down by the system. He obviously had a mental condition and the Mason clinic being full is no excuse for not receiving appropriate treatment. Surely he should have had some medication to calm him down. Its sad.
29/08/2012 3:57:03 p.m.
There should be some blame. Sure he probably had the intention to kill himself. He covered the camera and it wasn't cleared for 5 hours. What was the guard doing for all that time?. Don't they walk past and look in at least once an hour? The guard should shoulder some blame and the prison management for this to happen. I think there is a lot more to this than we are being let known. If he had been in the restraints for 30 hours "which is not good" says grace smit, wow understatement. Yet he was allowed to cover the camera and kill himself, and he was surposed to be on suicide watch. No matter what all of us think of him he has escaped his prison sentence because he is dead. I think some of the guards let people like him kill himself because it makes their job easier for many years if the rogue prisoner is not around. Even if there was a proper enquiry, I doubt corrections will shoulder any blame.
28/08/2012 9:01:54 p.m.
The Governments of past took it upon them self to close all the mental hospital in the country ie Kimberly Center, Cherry Farm etc. Public prisons, by default, were made responsible for the care of these unstable people. Corrections staff have no training in signs and symptoms or how best to treatment them. Corrections staff can only use the tools given to them. Don't point the finger at the officers, point the finger at the Corrections officers point the finger at the government for closing down the facilities designed to help and assist these unstable people.
28/08/2012 7:45:14 p.m.
Leave well enough alone, he is better off we are better off. do not spend more money
28/08/2012 7:33:25 p.m.
Plus 5 wrote:
No body in their right mind would have done anything different, when dealing with this madman. Absolutely no sympathy.
28/08/2012 7:26:15 p.m.
there is only one person responsible for this man's death and he is dead. He had a mind to kill himself and he achieved it. The staff around him should be praised for keeping him alive sd long ss they did. The Court found him sane. He clearly knew what he was doing and he acted so that he could achieve his purpose without detection. The Coroner's task should be restricted to establishing time, date and place of death and cause. Not to caste blame on anyone.
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