Silence is not the answer to another death in custody

Media release

19 July 2017

A 35 year old Kamilaroi man is the most recent Aboriginal death in custody in NSW. His death has not been publicly acknowledged by the NSW Government and his family are demanding answers.

News of the death follows the recent release of BOCSAR figures showing that more Aboriginal people are facing our courts, and a greater percentage of those facing court are receiving a custodial sentence.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“Another Aboriginal death in custody and all we get from this government is deafening silence.

“The family deserve prompt answers about why this young man was in prison in the first place and what occurred leading up to his death.

“The police and prison authorities must also tell the family if the Custody Notification Service was contacted and why bail was refused.

“The fact that his family was not contacted until after he was unconscious in hospital is particularly troubling.

“The family are quite rightly distressed to find this young man was still in prison chains despite being near death and on life support in hospital.

“This style of institutional brutality and indifference to Aboriginal lives must end.

“It’s time our society woke up to the devastation that imprisonment and punishment is causing to Aboriginal Australia.

“We build the jails, write the laws and pay the police and prosecutors who have made Indigenous Australians the most incarcerated people on the planet.

“We share responsibility for this tragedy and the only moral answer is to change the system and protect future lives,” Mr Shoebridge said.¬†

The recent BOCSAR report is available here: http://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Documents/BB/Report-2017-Indigenous-Imprisonment-in-NSW-BB126.pdf

 

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