Advocates who visited female inmates at Bandyup Women’s Prison in Perth have claimed that an incident did occur between a female inmate and a prison guard despite an investigation by the corrective services concluding there was no evidence to support claims of an incident.
Indigenous advocates Megan Krakourer and Mervyn Eades visited inmates at the women’s prison on Monday, following allegations a prison guard ‘body-slammed’ an inmate days earlier.
An investigation released on Thursday by the Professional Standards Division of the Department of Justice found no evidence a prisoner was subjected to excessive or unnecessary force by any person at the women’s prison.
“Based on the accounts of witnesses present during events last weekend, investigators concluded the prisoner’s need for urgent medical treatment arose from pre-existing conditions,” a statement from the Department of Justice said.
“There was no medical evidence of trauma or injury and investigators were unable to substantiate a claim the prisoner had been ‘body-slammed’ as reported by media.”
Corrective Services Commissioner Tony Hassall said staff at Bandyup Women’s Prison had been very disappointed by the unsubstantiated nature of the allegations.
The Department of Justice stated that all witnesses told investigators that there was no excessive force used.
However, National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project director and Noongar woman Megan Krakouer said there was an incident between the Yamatji woman and a prison guard but is unsure of the level of violence that occurred.
"In terms of body-slam, I did not see it, the prisoners could not tell me if that in fact was the case but definitely excessive use of force," Ms Krakouer said.
"You have a sick lady and if the department knew that she was a sick lady why did they not treat her as such and show that respect and use the right amount of force, if that's what they wanted to do, but there's no need for that force, talk down these situations, help, support but that statement (from DoJ) is not correct," she said.
Former chair of the First Nation’s Death in Custody Watch Committee Mervyn Eades told NITV News the inmate was transported down to Perth from Greenough Regional Prison near Geraldton last Friday.
He said inmates told him during the visit on Monday she looked "very sick" upon her arrival.
“She was taken to the Geraldton hospital on two occasions, how come they didn’t pick it (the illness) up there? Is this another case of Ms Dhu?” Mr Eades said.
“Maybe she shouldn’t have flown her down here and the big question to me why didn’t they not keep her in Geraldton Regional hospital and treat her properly,” he said.
Mr Eades said when he visited the prison the mood was "very low".
“Bandyup is a sad state of affairs,” Mr Eades said.
Both advocates said during the visit earlier in the week, Commission Tony Hassell was very compassionate and supportive of the inmates and culturally appropriate in allowing the Aboriginal advocates to speak with inmates alone.
The female inmate remains in hospital and is now in a stable condition.