SOUTH AUSTRALIA: A female prisoner with mental health issues who was chained to a bed for up to 20 hours a day has lodged a human rights complaint over her treatment.
The office of South Australia’s Public Advocate has lodged the complaint on the woman’s behalf with the Australian Human Rights commission relating to her treatment while serving a jail sentence for arson.
It argues her treatment isn’t compatible with her human rights, particularly as she has psychiatric problems.
Opposition health spokesman Martin Hamilton-Smith welcomed the filing of the complaint and said if it was upheld it would reflect poorly on the state government.
Mr Hamilton-Smith has also called for a judicial inquiry into the woman’s case and that of an Aboriginal man with mental health issues who was also held in Adelaide’s Yatala prison for 10 months.
“Only a judicial review will establish the full facts to ensure there is openness and accountability,” he said in a statement on Friday.
In state parliament this week, both Health Minister John Hill and Correctional Services Minister Jennifer Rankine defended the handling of the two cases.
Ms Rankine said as well as serving a prison term for arson the woman had also been convicted over a number of attacks on prison guards since being jailed.
The minister said the woman had made about 30 attempts at self-harm, many of them very serious and all actions taken by prison staff were designed to keep her safe.
She said the Aboriginal man had a long history of offending, had been remanded in custody for an assessment of his mental health and had committed a number of assaults on officers while on remand.