National / Crime & Legal

Staff at five Shikoku prison facilities punished for wrongly dispensing medicine

Kyodo

Officers at five prisons and juvenile detention facilities in Shikoku have been reprimanded over errors in administering medicine to inmates, it was learned Tuesday.

An information disclosure request to the Takamatsu correctional bureau of the Justice Ministry has found that, between January 2012 and September 2016, prison workers were found to have made 40 mistakes and tried to cover up some of them.

The bureau said none of the mistakes damaged the inmates’ health.

The disclosure showed that a Justice Ministry notice issued in July 2004 to take extra care in handing out medicine to prison inmates, following a series of errors involving medical administration at correctional facilities around the country earlier that year, had failed to improve the situation.

According to documents disclosed by the Takamatsu bureau, in many cases prison officers failed to double-check the names and numbers of inmates who were on prescription drugs, gave out drugs intended for other inmates or administered drugs to the same inmate twice.

In other cases, officers failed to give the drugs at times specified by doctors.

Most officers involved in the cases were given warnings. But in January 2012, at least one official was reprimanded for trying to conceal evidence by throwing out some of the prescription drugs.

The disclosed documents have information, such as the names and the departments of the officials involved, blacked out.

Of the 40 incidents, 15 took place at Tokushima Prison, 13 at Kochi Prison, eight at Matsuyama Prison, three at the Kochi juvenile detention center, and one at Takamatsu Prison.

In the bureau’s investigation in 2004, 15 errors in drug dispensing were reported at four prisons between January 2002 and May 2004.