Prisons minister ‘ignored’ inmate suicide warnings, say Libs

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ACT Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury. Cartoon: Karl Speller

LIBERAL MLA Giulia Jones says she warned Prisons Minister Shane Rattenbury twice last weekend that a mentally ill AMC prisoner was at risk of self harm.

On Wednesday, the inmate attempted suicide for the second time in two weeks and was rushed to the ICU at Canberra Hospital.

According to a “Canberra Times” report today, the prisoner is the same man targeted by prison guards in a 2018 racist attack that triggered a hearing in the civil and administrative tribunal, and led to an apology from the Corrective Service’s commissioner.

The indigenous inmate had been the subject of a game of “hangman” played on a whiteboard by prison staff within a staff-only area of the AMC.

Ms Jones, the opposition corrections spokesperson, says she had requested an independent psychiatric assessment and the inmate’s transfer to Dhulwa Secure Mental Health Unit, but that the Minister had refused on both counts.

“We need to do everything we can to prevent another death in custody,” Mrs Jones says. 

“Evidently, the care arrangements in place at the AMC are not working for this inmate. He needs acute mental health care.  

“The entire reason we have the secure mental health unit is for prisoners with complex mental health needs.”

Ms Jones says she has been told that the inmate was to have been returned to prison today.

“CityNews” contacted the Ministers office for comment this afternoon, and a spokesperson to the Minister said that Mr Rattenbury would like to assure the community that significant effort and resources are being provided to support this individual, and ensure his safety.

“Whilst there are people advocating for him to be provided certain medical treatment, the clinical advice does not support their stance at this point in time,” the spokesperson said.

AMC employee makes hangman game about detainee


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  1. Those of us dedicated to a humane, human rights based approach to corrections owe a vote of thanks to Giulia Jones and the Liberals for standing up for vulnerable, at risk prisoners such as the young Aboriginal man at the centre of this distressingly sad story.

    How bizarre, however, that Corrective Services in the ACT, the jurisdiction in Australia with the highest rate of Indigenous incarceration and a prison now regarded, following the infamous Hangman scandal, as possibly the most racist in the country, has been managed for the last eight years by the leader of the ACT Greens and the only Greens Minister in Australia.

    What are we to make of that?

  2. What are we to make of that ? As loud a noise as possible regarding the prison debacle , the SPIRE debacle, the light rail debacle and the couldn’t care attitude of the current Greens led government to the unkempt appearance of our National Capital, which has been my home for 51 years.

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