Two inmates have lost their lives inside a private prison in the NSW Riverina region within 3 days.
A 47-year-old man died in his cell after testing positive to covid-19 at Junee Correctional Centre. Three days later, a 48-year-old woman passed away, within the same facility.
Inadequate management of COVID-19 in private prison
Prisoner Advocate Renee McNab says the latest deaths emphasis the complete lack of management of COVID-19 in prisons.
“Inmates are being denied access to proper medical care and communication with their loved ones,” McNab said.
“When a prisoner test positive to COVID-19, their loved ones are pretty much the last ones to know.”
“Prisoners may have broken the law but at the end of the day they are still entitled to human rights. This includes access to adequate medical care. We are seeing the total opposite of that.”
Greens MP David Shoebridge said that he received numerous messages from concerned families.
“My office has been inundated with requests from families for information about what’s happening with their loved ones at Junee because they’re hearing nothing from the prison operator,” he stated.
“Families and inmates have been denied essential information about what’s happening which is creating a climate of fear and distress. Meanwhile inmates are having court dates canceled because the prison is in lockdown.”
Private-run prisons cause for alarm
Families and friends of inmates have deep concerns about the state of the facility.
Consequently, Shoebridge is pushing for an immediate investigation. This includes the option of converting the private prison back into public management.
“There are real questions about the ongoing safety of Junee and Parklea prisons and the impact of private operators seeking to maximize profits regardless of the human cost,” Shoebridge stated.
“The NSW Government needs to immediately take back the management of this private prison. It’s clear it is not safe.”
“Something needs to be done, people should be safe in jail and get adequate care not be coming out deceased”, Ms McNab said.
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