Deaths And Assaults In Private Prisons…
“The Australian Lawyers Alliance holds grave fears for the future of the NSW prison system, following a NSW Government decision to appoint a private security company to run Parklea Prison,” Alliance NSW president, Jnana Gumbert, said today.
“An ombudsman’s report, released this week, shows that the security company, that has been appointed to manage Parklea Prison, has a track record of human rights abuses,” Ms Gumbert said.
“The report, into an August 2008 incident at Melbourne Custody Centre, said excessive force was used against an inmate who, having soiled himself, was also moved naked through the privately-run prison to the showers.
The police have not said how the security company officers were disciplined or if the company was fined; and this is not the first case of inappropriate care; officers from this company also failed to protect an inmate bashed in 2005,” she said.
In August, this year, the U.S. 13th Court of Appeals upheld a $42.5 million in punitive damages claim against the same security operator following the 2001 beating death of inmate Gregorio De La Rosa Jr.
“The trial judge, in that case, concluded that prison officials, including the prison warden, had lied and destroyed critical evidence and displayed disgusting disrespect for the welfare of others,” Ms Gumbert said.
“Yet despite this, the NSW Government has just announced the same private security company has won the contract for Parklea Prison.”
Ms Gumbert said whenever corners were cut to increase profit margins – which can be a tendency with private operators – problems would arise from the cheaper inadequately trained staff, supervising; the age and condition of facilities; and the flow of information back to the government.
“The Australian Lawyers Alliance agrees with the findings of the ombudsman’s report, that in a democratic society everyone, including those incarcerated, should be able to enjoy and respect human rights. We shouldn’t be inflicting additional cruelty or inhumanity inside the prison system.”
Jnana Gumbert is also a Director at Stacks Law Firm