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Kalgoorlie Death In Custody Is Not The First One

Global Solutions Ltd Kalgoorlie death in custody is not the first one

"Last weekend's death in custody of an Indigenous drink driving offender while in transit by van, an AIMS Van operated under the contract with the US company (***) Global Solutions Limited from the Western Desert to Kalgoorlie was not by any means the first serious incident by this company, the company also charged by the Federal government for the running of Immigration Detention camps, the company responsible also for transport of Immigration detainees and prisoners, and this death warrants a full, independent, and complete investigation, not just by the State government, but by an independent body," WA human rights group Project SafeCom said today.

(***NOTE: GSL is now owned by a European Security Consortium - Group 4 Securitas - they just bought it back from 2 equity companies last month)

Villawood death

"The death comes on the back of another death of an inmate of the Villawood detention centre, who was under GSL transport on his way to a Sydney hospital, where he collapsed on arrival on the hospital's steps, only to be pronounced dead 24 hours later; NSW human rights advocates expressed serious concerns about the quality of medical care and monitoring in Villawood, a facility run by GSL following this incident."

See a report on the death:

Sept 2004 GSL Transport (Maribyrnong-Baxter)

"On 17-18 September 2004 GSL transferred 5 detainees from Maribyrnong to Baxter, without due regard to their deteriorating condition in the locked-up compartment of the transfer van, including provision for food, water, exercise and toilet facilities, and without attending to their refreshment needs in an environment where in the searing heat, the airconditioner was incapable of providing a comfortable environment during the trip. Subsequently GSL showed serious disregard for the detainees' initial complaint about the transport, and it was not until complaints had reached the Ombudsman and HREOC, that a full inquiry was conducted by Mr Keith Hamburger AM. At the time, Federal MP and Member for Fremantle, ALP MHR Dr Carmen Lawrence was instrumental in getting this inquiry off the ground." Keith Hamburger Report from the report:

"...the van is unsuitable in that its design creates an unsafe and inhumane environment for those in the secure compartments, as well as having design faults in the air-conditioning system that creates discomfort through failure to adequately cool the secure compartments..." Summary and Recommendations of the Report:

Following the Hamburger Report all five detainees received compensation offers and a letter of apology from the Immigration Department.

Inspector of Custodial Services writes to GSL

In June 2007, the Inspector of Custodial Services in WA, Richard Harding, wrote to GSL, questioning whether the company had the "capacity to cope with the logistical challenge of running a transport service across such huge distances as are involved in Western Australia", and whether GSL would "attempt to cherrypick the most profitable parts" of the transport contract. Mr Harding also expressed serious concerns about what he called the 'parlous state' of the fleet of State-owned vehicles, and about the insufficient resourcing of this fleet by the WA government.

See Richard Harding's remarks on this issue:

GSL future under the Rudd Labor government

"Conform with an earlier expressed commitment by the Labor party while in opposition, where it gave a full commitment to replace overseas companies, working under "commercial-in-confidence" secrecy arrangements, and working for the primary motive of generating profits for themselves, with agents working under auspices of the Australian Public Service, the Rudd Labor government should use this growing misery tale of human disasters to cancel its contract arrangements with Global Solutions Limited and replace the care for immigration detainees, and the transfer and transport of detainees and prisoners by international companies, with Australian operators who are directly responsible to the Inspector of Prisons and the Minister for Immigration," Project SafeCom said.

"The Rudd government should immediately end the opportunistic, cruel and "at armslength" abdication of responsibility methods of the Howard administration for what happens in this area, and replace this abysmal situation with contracts where Australian public service operators are directly and immediately responsible for what happens to their clients, and it should be made abundantly clear, that they are prosecutable if anything goes wrong while people are in their custody," spokesman Jack H Smit said.

For more information: Jack H Smit, Project SafeCom Inc. Office 1 (08) 9881-5651 mobile 0417 090 130

Other contacts:

WA Deaths in Custody Watch Committee: Marc Newhouse: mobile 0415 074 602

Charandev Singh - human rights and prison custody death researcher: mobile 0403 659 431

Man dies on way to jail

ABC ONLINE NEWS Posted Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:05pm AEDT Updated Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:10pm AEDT

Western Australia's Minister for Corrective Services, Margaret Quirk, says there will be a thorough investigation into a death in custody in Kalgoorlie.

A 46-year-old man, believed to be from the Goldfields town of Warburton, collapsed while being transported from Laverton to Kalgoorlie.

He was taken to Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital where he died a short time later.

A spokesman for the transport company G-S-L, Tim Hall, says it was a traumatic event.

"I can tell you at the moment it was a very distressing incident in every respect," he said.

"The police coronial investigation is still underway however, and for that reason I'm not able to make any comment at all about the incident. I can tell you that our employee will receive counselling if such is necessary."

Drink driver dies in custody

The Australian Paige Taylor January 28, 2008

MAJOR Crime Squad detectives are investigating the death in custody of an Aboriginal man arrested on Australia Day in the West Australian desert town of Warburton for allegedly drink-driving.

Police say the man died the next day after collapsing in the back of a security van on the second leg of a 915km journey to jail in the goldfields city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

He was being driven by contractors for the Department of Corrective Services, who noticed he had collapsed as they neared their destination.

Police stopped the man last Saturday at 9.30pm in his remote home town of Warburton, 1500km northwest of Perth in the traditional Ngaanyatjarra Lands.

He was charged with one count of drink driving and taken to the lockup in Warburton.

He was driven 570km to the courthouse in the town of Laverton where he appeared on Sunday and was remanded in custody.

Police say he was being transported to the nearest jail, the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison 352km away, when he collapsed.

The man was being transported by Global Solutions Limited, after having been picked up in Laverton at 11.40am, police say.

He was being conveyed in the rear of the GSL security van.

As the van neared Kalgoorlie, the man was found to have collapsed and he was conveyed to Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital.

But he died a short time later.

Kalgoorlie Detectives will help the Major Crime Squad with its investigation of the man's death.

Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk said the cause of the death had not yet been established.

"Any death in custody is a tragedy and will be thoroughly investigated,'' she said.

Death may have been preventable: Watch Committee

ABC ONLINE NEWS Posted Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:47am AEDT

A voluntary organisation says the death of an Aboriginal elder in the back of a prison van in the Goldfields may have been preventable.

Warburton community leader, Ian Ward, collapsed while being transferred from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in stifling heat on Sunday and died a short time later in hospital.

The chairman of the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, Marc Newhouse, says calls have flooded in to them from Indigenous people around the state who are upset about the incident.

Mr Newhouse says they committee will be asking questions of the Attorney General and the Inspector of Custodial Services because there have been previous reports that the vehicles used to transport prisoners do not have proper facilities.

"A lot of people, many Aboriginal people across the state, are sick and tired of these sorts of deaths which for many people are preventable, they're preventable deaths and they shouldn't be happening," he said.

The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee is calling for a review of prisoner transport arrangements.

The vans used are government-owned but run by private contractors.

Mr Newhouse says things to need to change.

"Firstly, we'd like to see, in terms of transportation of prisoners, a complete review of the current arrangements," he said.

"There's been problems with the transportation of prisoners by private contractors in the past and we just think it's entirely inappropriate that an important function of that nature is privatised."


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