Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Prison boss faces misconduct charge

A prison chief has been charged with misconduct

A prison boss has been charged with misconduct after a woman hanged herself inside a young offenders centre in Northern Ireland.

Gary Alcock has been suspended since last May following an investigation into the death at Hydebank, south Belfast, by Prison Ombudsman. He has been given a fortnight to respond to the charge.

Prison Service chiefs have confirmed the disciplinary process was under way.

A spokesman said: "Proceedings have been instigated and it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage."

Mr Alcock was governor at Hydebank when Frances McKeown, 23, was discovered on the floor of her cell during a routine check by staff in the women`s section in May last year. Three hours earlier a teenager was found dead in his cell. He also took his own life.

The Ombudsman Pauline McCabe was called in to carry out an inquiry. She produced an interim report.

There is no suggestion his actions contributed to Ms McKeown`s suicide.

She was a mother of two and had a history of mental illness.

Concerns about Ms McKeown`s death were then investigated by an independent team from the Scottish Prison Service who recommended the Hydebank government face a charge of misconduct. Under the code of conduct and discipline he now has 14 days in which to respond.

If a disciplinary hearing goes ahead and the charge found to be proven, then Mr Alcock could face a range of sanctions. But he cannot be dismissed from his post.

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