Because states must rebut the presumption of responsibility, all prisoner deaths must be investigated. These investigations frequently illustrate the tip of an iceberg of rights abuses and systemic hazards but have largely escaped analysis in prison-monitoring scholarship. Focusing on suicides, we assemble some of the first evidence illustrating how the staff of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, who investigate prisoner deaths in England and Wales, seek to prevent further deaths. Ombudsman investigations are widely regarded as ineffective, yet there are competing constructions regarding why this is and what could be done to improve outcomes. As a result of organizational norms and constraints, ombudsman staff have offered narrow accounts of prisoner suicides, focusing on the failure of frontline staff to comply with prison policies. By contrast, prison staff and coroners have focused on systemic hazards or “accidents waiting to happen,” including imprisoning people with severe mental illness, illegal drugs, unsafe facilities, and inadequate staffing. These differing constructions lock penal actors into an unproductive cycle of blame shifting that contributes to high suicide numbers. We reconceptualize prisoner deaths as occurring at the intersection of systemic hazards, organizational contexts, and individual errors. We hope that this reconceptualization facilitates broader investigations that are more likely to prevent prisoner deaths.