“What do the NSW government want? More deaths in custody? Why aren’t they applying safe decarceration strategies for non-violent offenders?” Said Greens Justice and First Nations spokesperson: DjabWurrung, Gunnai and Gunditjmara Senator for Victoria Lidia Thorpe.
“NATSILS and other justice advocates called for this over 12 months ago. We knew this was a risk then and now we’re at a crisis point.
“There are nearly 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Parklea Correctional Centre, 50 at Silverwater Correctional Facility and two prison officers have tested positive at Bathurst Correctional Centre.
“There’s a state-wide prison lockdown to control the outbreaks, but people can’t safely self-isolate in prison. Communal showers mean they won’t have access to basic hygiene. Extended solitary confinement has serious impacts on people’s mental health.
“The NSW government needs to consider the health and humanity of people in custody. They have a duty of care, especially after redirecting vaccines for people in custody to HSC students. The state has only managed to vaccinate around 24.9% of First Nations people.
“We could start applying safe decarceration strategies now. The Corrective Services NSW Commissioner has the power to release low-risk inmates on parole. As it stands, no one has been released, despite NSW Corrections failing to manage this outbreak.
“We demand the implementation of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody as a matter of urgency, or we will have more Blak deaths in custody on their watch.” Said Thorpe