Today I read the ABC newspage reporting yet another Aboriginal death in custody; this time a woman. I put this on my blog today as this is a story from my own backyard, North Queensland, because I am saddend and angry that these things are still allowed to occur and because I hope we can turn the tides together…
The article reads as follows:
The Queensland coroner says urgent changes are needed in prisons, following the suicide of a female inmate. Thirty-seven-year-old (I have taken out her name out of respect for the deceased, but her name is in the original article) was suffering from a tooth abscess and chronic pain from a car accident but was denied pain medication.
After enduring a month of pain she killed herself, prompting the coroner to call for widespread reform.
She was an Indigenous woman with a traumatic and troubled history. The coronial inquest found she had been in prison before, but also a mental health facility, suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse. In 2007 she was in a serious car accident, breaking her arm and leg. From then on she was in constant pain, for which she was prescribed Panadeine Forte and Tramadol. In 2009 the 37-year-old was charged with arson and held for a short time at Townsville Correctional Centre on remand. During that time medical staff allowed her access to pain medication. But when she was convicted and returned to Townsville Correctional Centre her treatment changed dramatically.
The coroner found her risk assessment failed to pick up her history of mental illness because it only looked at the previous six months. Records also show that in her medical assessment she told the nurse she had been prescribed Panadeine Forte.
You can read the rest of the story by clicking on the above headline…