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END PREVENTABLE DEATHS IN CUSTODY

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To the Minister for Corrections,

We, the undersigned, demand urgent prison reforms to end all preventable death in custody. Prisons should be a place of care and reform, not places of despair and a loss of hope, and life.

We call on you to end all preventable deaths in custody now. Use your power to:

  • Ensure prisons are places of rehabilitation, with a culture that safeguards, not degrades the basic human rights of inmates
  • Urgently work to remove all ligature points from prison cells across the state
  • Deliver free and secure communications channels to allow inmates to stay in contact with their loved ones while inside
  • Strengthen and protect the right to education, fair work, medical care, and safety for people behind bars
  • Reform our prisons now! 

END PREVENTABLE DEATHS IN CUSTODY

Over the weekend, an inmate in Parklea prison died in a suspected suicide by hanging. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.

This is the second death by suicide in Parklea prison in as many months. A prison sentence should not be a death sentence. 

Conditions in our prisons are barbaric. Inmates are made to work for as little as 65 cents an hour. Inmate lock-ins due to inadequate staff numbers are common. A culture of abuse and coercion is rife within these places. Medical care is routinely withheld. In New South Wales just last year, Corrections blocked UN inspectors from entering our prisons centres to inspect for human rights abuses. 

It is, tragically, no surprise that deaths of despair are the second leading cause of death behind bars. Deaths in custody in NSW have been steadily rising with 43 reported deaths in 2021 and 49 in deaths in 2022, First Nations people represent 22.4% of these deaths. Half of those who survive their sentences will go on to reoffend. Something is desperately wrong.

The prison system in New South Wales is a machine that is failing inmates and instead of providing tailored programs of support to educate and heal people so they can reintegrate into society, breeds the conditions that cause harm and reoffending. It is a staggering waste of human potential and public money, failing prisoners, people affected by crime, and our communities. It does not have to be this way. Sign the petition calling for urgent prison reforms to respect the human rights of inmates and end the regime of cruelty and the revolving door of despair.

Sign the petition calling for urgent prison reforms to end preventable deaths in custody.

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