Putting his body on the line to save the life of a prisoner has led to Prison Officer Tony Jones becoming the first recipient of a new Isle of Man Government award.
The Department of Home Affairs has introduced a Ministerial Commendation to honour members of staff who demonstrate bravery, self-sacrifice or extreme commitment to the protection of the public.
Minister Juan Watterson MHK this week presented Tony with the framed certificate in recognition of his part in a dramatic rescue at the Isle of Man Prison.
The incident occurred in March when a prisoner climbed the railings on the top landing of a wing at the prison, intending to harm himself by throwing himself to the floor below.
A prison officer since 1997, Tony spotted the danger unfolding and reacted quickly to break the prisoner’s fall and prevent him from sustaining serious, possibly life-threatening injuries.
Officer and prisoner both emerged relatively unscathed and Tony was able to resume his regular duties just a few minutes later after being checked over by the prison healthcare team.
Presenting the Ministerial Commendation, Mr Watterson said: ‘Without any thought to his own personal safety, Tony Jones was able to catch the prisoner as he fell. His brave and selfless action prevented death or serious injury to the prisoner and he is a very worthy recipient of this new honour.’
Prison Governor Alison Gomme added: ‘Officer Jones’s actions were above and beyond the call of duty. Thankfully events such as this are extremely rare at the Isle of Man prison, and the response to this particular incident demonstrates the high level of professionalism and commitment of staff at the prison.’
The Ministerial Commendation has been created by Home Affairs to formally recognise exceptional performance in the course of duty by serving officers of the Department outside the Isle of Man Constabulary, which has its own long-established awards ceremony.
Tony Jones said: ‘It’s an honour to be the first person to receive this new award. The incident itself happened very quickly and I just reacted to the circumstances to protect the welfare of the prisoner involved.’