Four men are facing charges following a #BLM protest at Parklea Correctional Centre last Monday.
The four men – aged 20, 23 and two aged 22 – were transferred from Parklea to Riverstone Police Station on Friday where they were each charged with rioting.
Armed officers used chemical “munitions” (weapons) on 14 inmates on the roof of the centre, ending the protest.
Additionally, fifty other inmates in the yard who were refusing to follow staff directions were also subdued with chemicals.
Taking a stand against Racism in Prisons
The protest began when the 14 inmates climbed on to the roof of the accommodation wing of Parklea Correctional Centre and wrote “BLM” using their bedsheets. They then took a knee and raised their fists in the air.
The demonstration lasted three hours. A that time, armed officers eventually stormed the roof and physically removed the inmates.
Aboriginal activist and father of a young man incarcerated at Parklea, Raymond Finn addressed the media on Tuesday.
“I need to speak up for those young fellas who were protesting yesterday. They were taking brave action to try and highlight the plight of our people who continue to be brutalised by prisons and police,” he said.
Finn said the inmates took “a stand against racism of the prison system”.
“They were then assaulted and detained by guards. Guards had been given permission to shoot the inmates which is disgraceful. So many of our people are filling up the jails,” he said.
“We are the most incarcerated people on the face of the planet. Here in NSW, we are more than 25 per cent of people in prison despite being only three per cent of the population.”
Finn said his own children have been “constantly harassed and intimidated by police”.
“Police harassment is big part of the reason why so many young First Nations people are in jail. There are no opportunities for our people, there is no rehabilitation if they are struggling, they just fill up the jails,” he said.
Parklea Prison has terrible conditions
Finn described the conditions inside the facility as “terrible” with inmates suffering regular abuse and COVID-19 restrictions stopping families from visiting their loved ones.
“This is a private prison making profit off the misery of our people and it needs to stop,” he said.
“They need to set our people free. Too many are inside for petty offences. They are safer outside and should be receiving services and opportunities to help get their lives on track.
“We salute their brave stand yesterday saying Black Lives Matter.”
Corrective Services denies “racial motive”
“Describing the riot at Parklea Correctional facility … as being racially motivated, is completely false and misleading,” Corrective Services NSW said in a statement.
NITV reported that authorities deny claims of racism, saying buprenorphine was allegedly part of the prisoner’s demands. Reports have pushed “it was sparked by a sudden reduction in illegal drug supply”.
Sure. I believe you. It definitely had nothing to do with inhumane conditions that have been complained about for years. No sir.
— Damien Evans (@DamienEvans7) July 13, 2021
Parklea Correctional Centre Governor Paul Baker said prison staff did an “excellent job”.
“The officers have done an excellent job, utilising their specialised training, to resolve this situation safely,” he said.
“I commend the teams from the security operations group and Parklea’s immediate response team for their skilful handling of this situation.”