Coroner wants urgent action at WA prison

Stock image.
Stock image.

AUTHORITIES at a West Australian prison have not done enough to remove an obvious means for inmates to take their own lives, a coroner says.

A recent inquest into the suicides of five male prisoners at Perth’s maximum security Casuarina Prison revealed four were by hanging.

Coroner Michael Jenkin said in his findings handed down on Thursday it was not acceptable that only about 40 per cent of cells at the facility have had hanging points minimised.

“The department should increase the number of ligature-minimised cells available at the prison without delay, and cells routinely used to house vulnerable prisoners ought to be prioritised,” Mr Jenkin said.

He noted that in 2008, the then state coroner called for an ongoing review of hanging points and funding to achieve their removal.

“I hope that the department will now make this issue an absolute priority,” Mr Jenkin said.

It was the subject of one of eight recommendations, which included a triage system whereby all vulnerable, new prisoners are reviewed by a mental health professional within 24 hours of arriving.

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