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BUILD COMMUNITIES NOT PRISONS CAMPAIGN calls for an end to double-bunking

MEDIA RELEASE

BUILD COMMUNITIES NOT PRISONS CAMPAIGN
17th June 2010

Campaign calls for an end to double-bunking

Following the release of the Inspector for Custodial Services' Report into Hakea Prison,Build Communities Not Prisons Campaign spokesperson, Marc Newhouse called for animmediate end to double bunking.

Mr. Newhouse described the practice of 'double bunking' in small cells designed for one person as inhumane and in breach of Australia's human rights obligations.

“Prisoners are people too — and despite their crimes, prisoners need to be treated as people”.

“No-one in their right mind would ever wish their brother, sister, cousin or friend to have to sleep on a mattress on the floor with their head next to a toilet. This is not just unpleasant — it is degrading, demeaning and unreasonable”.

The Campaign members are also very concerned that the double bunking of small cells designed for one person seems to have become an accepted norm rather than an occasional temporary necessity — echoing the comments of the Inspector for Custodial
Services, Professor Neil Morgan on Tuesday.

“Whilst bunk beds may be preferable to mattresses on the floor, we strongly believe that any cell designed for single occupancy, should only have a single occupant. Any single cell with two prisoners living in it is an overcrowded cell. Double bunking is not the solution to the extreme overcrowding in WA prisons”.

The Build Communities Not Prisons Campaign believes the Government should work to alleviate prison overcrowding by granting amnesties to:

1. People within 4 months of completion of their sentences;
2. Those imprisoned for fine defaults;
3. Those who are mentally ill and require support to live independently;
4. Children under 14; and
5. Other relevant categories of prisoners.

Media Contact: Marc Newhouse (spokesperson), Build Communities Not Prisons Campaign (Deaths in Custody Watch Committee) on mobile: 0415 074 602.

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