Please note: This story contains reference to someone who has died.
A 47-year-old Aboriginal man has died in Roebourne Regional Prison in WA’s Pilbara region.
The man was found unconscious in his six-person dormitory cell on Wednesday morning by corrective service officers. Prison medical staff tried to revive him but were unsuccessful.
In a statement, the WA Department of Justice said local police attended the regional prison and determined there does not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. NIT understands the man took his own life.
“The Department of Justice, Corrective Services will carry out a review of the incident,” said the statement.
Corrective Services Commissioner Tony Hassall extended his condolences to the man’s family and travelled to Roebourne on Wednesday.
Since becoming Commissioner, Commissioner Hassall has travelled to the locations of Aboriginal deaths in custody and offered to meet with families and enable any cultural practices at the prison should they wish. Sometimes this means allowing smoking or other cultural ceremonies to take place.
The Department of Justice also said the Department would “seek cultural advice from community Elders”.
A Coroner’s Inquest will be held for the Roebourne death in line with Aboriginal deaths in custody requirements.
This is the third Aboriginal death in custody in WA in the past two months after a 19-year-old man took his own life earlier this month and a 40-year-old man collapsed from ill-health in June. Both deaths were at Acacia Prison, privately run by Serco.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental ill-health, call or visit the online resources below:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14, lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636, beyondblue.org.au/forums
- MensLine – 1300 789 978
- Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
- Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet – healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au
By Hannah Cross