15.7 C
Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Inspector condemns prisoner health services

Latest News

Echo turns 35 and You are invited!

This year The Echo turns 35, and to celebrate this momentous anniversary they are putting on The Echo Community Awards – and everyone is invited!

Other News

Dam doesn’t give a damn about koalas

The proposed Dunoon Dam is still a possibility, though it has been voted against twice by the members of Rous County Council. Now information has emerged which presents another reason to shut down the threat of the dam once and for all.

Northern Star dimming under Murdoch shadow

As democracy advocates and journalists around the world did their best to acknowledge World Press Freedom Day on May 3, in regional Australia, The Northern Star was dimming.

Greater Sydney under COVID related restrictions

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has just announced that greater Sydney area will go into lockdown until next Monday.

Byron Bay wins season opener against Mullum Giants

  Ross Kendall The local league derby is always  and the Byron Bay Red Devils have won the first game of...

Government fails to support dying at home in Northern Rivers

Approaching the subject of dying is always tricky, often awkward, and never easy. But when you are faced with caring for someone at the end of their life, it helps if you can find support from people who have already navigated the path.

Cartoon of the week – 5 May, 2021

Letters to the editor We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters...

In the forward to the Inspector of Custodial Services Report published last month, Fiona Rafter says that the provision of health services to inmates in New South Wales custodial facilities is a complex and challenging responsibility. This is due to a combination of the size of the NSW correctional system, the need to deliver these services in a secure environment and a patient group with frequently complicated medical histories and co-occurring medical conditions.

Ms Rafter says that challenges to delivering health services in custodial settings have been previously identified in public reports. ‘The 2015 Inspector of Custodial Services (ICS) report Full House noted the impact of rising prisoner numbers on the adequacy of health staffing, infrastructure and access hours.

‘Also published in 2015, the ICS report Old and Inside identified the challenge of meeting the complex healthcare needs of an increasing ageing population in an environment already strained of resources.

‘The 2018 ICS report Inspection of 24- hour court cells in NSW identified that these complexes are where the majority of inmates first enter custody and therefore it is crucial for health services to be provided at all 24-hour court cell complexes.

‘The Residential Facilities and the compulsory drug treatment correctional centre report discussed the provision of health services at these custodial centres. The Women on Remand report considered the particular health needs of women in custody.

Prisoners would rather die than be transferred to a maximum-security

Justice Action is a not-for-profit community organisation based in Sydney which focuses on abuses of authority in the criminal justice and mental health systems in Australia. Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins says that amongst other issues, the report found that ‘Prisoners would rather die than be transferred to a maximum-security facility to access vital healthcare.

‘The Inspector of Custodial Services Report reveals the grim status of prisoner health citing 15 years of accelerated aging relative to the general population. Prisoners miss or cancel crucial appointments due to lacking transport, administrative errors, fear of other prisoners or fear of losing their stable jobs and positions in minimum security prisons.

Report paints a reality that falls drastically short of universal standard

Mr Collins says that the principle of equivalence requires that prisoners receive the same standard of health care as others. ‘The Inspector General’s 2021 Report paints a reality that falls drastically short of this universal standard. This is shown most strongly in the statistic that it takes an average waiting time in one centre of 59 days to see a GP after reporting symptoms.

‘The NSW prison health care system is under-equipped in medical staff to adequately meet the basic health care needs of prisoners. The current nurse dominated structure does not afford the requisite skill to properly meet the health needs of the prison population.

‘At Cessnock Correctional Centre only five hours of GP consultation are available each week for 675 prisoners. Partially trained nurses are offered instead of doctors to prisoners, whose health is much worse than the general population. Forty-seven per cent of prisoners have two chronic illnesses, 77 per cent have a mental health problem, and suicide attempts are ten times the frequency of others.

State governments responsible for prisoner health

Mr Collins says that State governments are responsible for prisoner health, explicitly excluding access to Medicare. ‘The Inspector criticised this arrangement and recommended it be renegotiated at least for Aboriginal prisoners to meet Closing the Gap targets.

‘For aged prisoners, release on parole to a secure aged care facility would give them appropriate health care at significant saving to the state.

‘The current callous approach of abandoning them in cells to die is a breach of Corrective Services obligation for care,’ said Mr Collins.

Click here to read the report.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Comparissons

Gareth Smith, Byron Bay Trade Minister Dan Tehan wants to refer China to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) because he deems its imposition of tariffs...

‘Natural’ cruelty

Richard Swinton, Clunes While I agree with Desmond Bellamy’s concerns about animal cruelty, the issue of ‘natural’ cruelty if the kangaroo population explodes has to...

Police chase ends in head-on car and truck crash

Police have declared a critical incident investigation after a car chase in Ballina ended in a crash Friday night.

Join Clarkes Beach paddle out this weekend to stop massive oil and gas field project

Hundreds of local surfers and water-lovers will paddle out at Clarke’s Beach over the weekend to protest against a massive oil and gas field proposed for the NSW coast.