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Written warning for prison death completely unacceptable

Written warning for death completely unacceptable, says Howard League

The inquest this week into the death of Jai Davis in Otago Correctional Facility has revealed a string of serious negligence on the part of staff at the prison. Staff knew that he had concealed drugs on him and yet just left him in an at risk cell for two days until he died. He was not checked on as per instructions neither was he sent to hospital nor was any doctor ever advised, let alone called in.

This may well be one of the worst cases of failure in the duty of care in Corrections’ history. “If a parent did this they would be arrested and sent to prison”, says Howard League spokesperson Madeleine Rose. Some person or persons should be made accountable. A mere written warning over the death does not cover it. This is a chargeable offence.

When whanau hand a loved one over to the care of Corrections they expect that duty of care to be enforced. Although staff had been told to get a response from Jai Davis every 15 minutes this was not done. It had been ticked off that it was done but CCTV footage proved that it wasn’t. He should have been sent straight to hospital. Charges should be laid, says Rose.


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