Australia

Fourth death in custody inside Western Australian prison in the last two years


A 59-year-old man has died in custody at a privately-run prison in Western Australia.

The man was found unresponsive in his cell at Acacia prison, about an hour east of Perth, on Monday.

Acacia prison is a medium-security jail privately run by Serco on behalf of the WA Government. 

SBS News understands the man’s death is the fourth death in custody at Acacia prison in less than two years, and the third suspected suicide.  

In a statement provided to SBS News, a spokesperson for the WA Department of Justice said the cause of death is not believed to be suspicious.

“The man was found unconscious in his cell and attempts by Serco staff and St John Ambulance paramedics to revive him were unsuccessful,” the statement reads.

“In accordance with the Coroner’s Act, the death will be subject to an inquest and the WA Police Force will prepare a report for the State Coroner.”

Serco will also review the circumstances surrounding the death and provide a report to the Department of Justice.

SBS News understands the man was serving a life sentence.

The deceased was reportedly a student enrolled in the Justice and Equity Through Art program, a joint initiative by SERCO and Curtin University that allows prisoners to undertake tertiary studies while incarcerated.

In August last year, the WA Government promised to establish a suicide prevention taskforce to examine the management of at-risk prisoners in Western Australia.

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25). More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.au and lifeline.org.au. Embrace Multicultural Mental Health supports people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

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