Tasmania Prison Service Exposed
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Strategy launched to reduce over-representation of Indigenous people in custody

Strategy launched to reduce over-representation of Indigenous people in custody | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
The National Justice Coalition launches a plan to reduce over-representation of Indigenous people in custody.
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Prisons policy is turning Australia into the second nation of captives

Prisons policy is turning Australia into the second nation of captives | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
The US is the great incarcerator, spending US$60 billion a year on prisons, and Australia is sliding down the same path. The solution? Confine jails almost exclusively to sexual and violent offenders.
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Why short term behaviour modification is short sighted

Why short term behaviour modification is short sighted | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
When reward systems fail, don’t blame the program—look at the premise behind it.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:
Short term rewards and punishments, complicated contract levels and inconsistent management of prisoners has, over the years, proven less than effective. Recidivism rates demonstrate that current correction practices are less than effective. It is time to change the thinking of prison managers if we are to 'break the cycle'. It is time to change the thinking of our Ministers and Judges - prison is ineffective as a solution to reducing recidivism, short term sentences do more harm than good, instead of the hoped for 'shock' instead they often only enhance criminal skills and desires. When it costs over $300 a day to house a prisoner and make them worse, how could it possibly cost more to implement home detention?? Show us the figures Vanessa.
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What will be cut??

The TasCOSS analysis of the governments budget notes what appears to be a target to decrease the cost of incarcerating a prisoner by 6.6%. Further information is required to understand how these costs will be lowered, and what will be the impact on conditions at the prison.

 

So Vanessa what will be cut? 

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

The TasCOSS analysis of the governments budget notes what appears to be a target to decrease the cost of incarcerating a prisoner by 6.6%. Further information is required to understand how these costs will be lowered, and what will be the impact on conditions at the prison.

 

So Vanessa what will be cut? What will be the impact of those cuts? 

 
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Warnings on jail smoking ban

Warnings on jail smoking ban | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
THE Prisoners Advisory Legal Service has warned of a cigarette black market and increased inmate tension for when Tasmanian prisons go smoke-free early next year.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

Successfully implemented???? And the cost of free nicotine patches? What is the plan for those prisoners who cannot use the patches? What is the actual likelihood that prisoners will remain non-smokers after release?

 

Prisons cannot keep drugs out of prison, they certainly won't be able to keep tobacco out. It simply will mean more prisoners on harsher punishments for trading and possessing tobacco.

 

According to the union if there is more violence that is the prisoners fault and has nothing to do with their environment or how they are treated - honestly CPSU that is what you think??? Maybe it is time you read some research and some of the evidence before you open your mouth and look like a fool.

 

What next a sugar free prison??

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Prison Destroys Families and Communities at Society's Expense

Prison Destroys Families and Communities at Society's Expense | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
In this excerpt from Locked Down, Locked Out, Maya Schenwar delves into the damage wrought by prison on families.

Via Darcy Delaproser
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

"Prison's role in society, the logic goes, is to toss away the bad eggs so they can't poison us—so we don't even have to see them. With those eggs cleared, we seamlessly close up the gaps and carry on, clean and whole. The surprise pops up when the broken seams are revealed—the way that incarceration rips open new holes in the social fabric of families and communities outside, severing intricate networks strung together in ways that are observable only upon their breaking. Instead of eggs, we are tossing away people's mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, partners, friends."


Time to say enough is enough. It's broken and can not be fixed, too many people in there who are not dangerous or evil, who are not a threat to the safety of the community. Instead many are broken by the experience and the every day abuse of human rights which occurs inside. The innocent on the outside, family and friends, are punished as well, by a prison system which has no respect for families or people.

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State Government to auction prison farm after it fails to sell

State Government to auction prison farm after it fails to sell | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
THE mothballed Hayes Prison Farm will be auctioned, with the State Government unable to find a buyer.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

It seems unlikely that Hayes will fetch more than $1m at auction which will only cover the cost of closing it and keeping it closed. This will go down as yet another ridiculous 'solution'.

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Risdon inmates split by great North-South divide

Risdon inmates split by great North-South divide | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
PAROCHIALISM in the prison system — namely the North-South divide — has forced the prison service to create new areas to separate inmates.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

There is a North - South divide, but the prison service does nothing to alleviate this issue. Instead they support and allow sports games to be divided into these two teams, instead of supporting a more integrated and mixed approach. There will always be prisoners requiring increased protection from other prisoners and often these problems are based on location.

 

We do not need more prisons, but we do need more solutions. Few of our prisoners actually need the strict security of medium and maximum units and instead other options could be considered where people remain in the community. We have well and truly over spent on a system which does not work, now we have no money left for sensible solutions such as home detention and cottage style in community options. 

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Anti-protest bill cannot be saved, former Tas judge tells MPs

Anti-protest bill cannot be saved, former Tas judge tells MPs | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
A former judge says the Tasmanian Government's anti-protest bill will have unintended consequences.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

As I have stated before mandatory sentencing is completely ineffective and do they really want protesters to know about the conditions at the prison. 

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Tasmania’s Australian of the Year finalists announced

Tasmania’s Australian of the Year finalists announced | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
AN equal rights activist, an animal welfare campaigner, a pioneering musician and a lawyer are among Tasmania’s Australian of the Year finalists.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

Congratulations Elizabeth Coleman — prisoner rehabilitation advocate (Mt Stuart) for becoming a finalist in Tasmania's Australian of the Year.

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Breaking the Cycle Strategic Plan 2011-2020...one third of the way through

The Breaking the Cycle Action plan was due for completion by 2013 but there was no reporting on progress.

 

Was a new action plan developed which outlines future actions?

 

I can remember at the time of the release the now Minister stating that the actions did not implement much at all. So should we not now have a new action plan with the words 'implement' and 'action'. What parts of the action plan should be carried forward as incompleted or requiring further review? 

 

March 2014 marked the third anniversary of the Strategic Plan for Tasmanian Corrections, we are one third of the way through....so what is the progress to date? With no reporting on progress against the goals, stakeholders are left guessing. 

 

It's great to have these documents, but if there is no reporting back to the community, how can we tell that they are being followed and implemented? 

 

Yes we have an annual report which gives stakeholders the bare minimum of mandated statistics, but one of the actions in the strategy is to "5.1.1 Develop a communications strategy for corrective services", does that include reporting on progress against the strategic plan and action plans? And whatever happened to "5.1.3 Regularly publish key information regarding corrective services"?

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

The Breaking the Cycle Action plan was due for completion by 2013 but there was no reporting on progress.

 

Was a new action plan developed which outlines future actions?

 

I can remember at the time of the release the now Minister stating that the actions did not implement much at all. So should we not now have a new action plan with the words 'implement' and 'action'. What parts of the action plan should be carried forward as incompleted or requiring further review? 

 

March 2014 marked the third anniversary of the Strategic Plan for Tasmanian Corrections, we are one third of the way through....so what is the progress to date? With no reporting on progress against the goals, stakeholders are left guessing. 

 

It's great to have these documents, but if there is no reporting back to the community, how can we tell that they are being followed and implemented? 

 

Yes we have an annual report which gives stakeholders the bare minimum of mandated statistics, but one of the actions in the strategy is to "5.1.1 Develop a communications strategy for corrective services", does that include reporting on progress against the strategic plan and action plans? And whatever happened to "5.1.3 Regularly publish key information regarding corrective services"?

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Inquiry into departure of Risdon Prison ex-boss dumped

Inquiry into departure of Risdon Prison ex-boss dumped | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it

It aA Tasmanian parliamentary inquiry into the departure of a controversial former Risdon Prison boss is abandoned.

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

It appears that it is all over....no inquiry. All too difficult, probably too likely to cause embarrassment, more airing of dirty prison laundry and highlight what happens in our government workplaces. Best left alone in the interests of the government........well at least that's what all the spin doctors would have you believe, apparently we pay a heap of them down here.

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Correctional confusion...

Maybe this is the malady which is plaguing our prisons. It would appear that Prison Managers are confused about how to modify prisoners behaviour. You see prisoners are told, when it comes to those looking after pups in the prison, to reward good behaviour and ignore bad behaviour. But at the prison they ignore good behaviour and punish bad behaviour. Not only do they punish bad behaviour, they punish people differently, some get one sort of treatment, others get a different set of punishments. Managers make comments like 'I want to make sure that he gets a good taste of it' - where is the professionalism or evidence base for that?

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

Maybe this is the malady which is plaguing our prisons. It would appear that Prison Managers are confused about how to modify prisoners behaviour. You see prisoners are told, when it comes to those looking after pups in the prison, to reward good behaviour and ignore bad behaviour. But at the prison they ignore good behaviour and punish bad behaviour. Not only do they punish bad behaviour, they punish people differently, some get one sort of treatment, others get a different set of punishments. Managers make comments like 'I want to make sure that he gets a good taste of it' - where is the professionalism or evidence base for that?

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Indigenous prison number up almost 90 per cent in decade, 'urgent action required'

Indigenous prison number up almost 90 per cent in decade, 'urgent action required' | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
Staggering numbers of Indigenous people behind bars prompts a new call for urgent action to 'close the gap' within a generation.
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Changes at Hobart's Risdon Prison put staff in 'unsafe position'

Changes at Hobart's Risdon Prison put staff in 'unsafe position' | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
There are concerns tensions could boil over inside Hobart's Risdon Prison as changes are being made to how it is run.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

Change has been painfully slow, but once again unions are resisting. Unfortunately the smoking ban was unnecessary and poorly timed causing undue stress for very little benefit. Let's concentrate on getting the basics right first, a human rights approach to prison management - something still not being adequately discussed.

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No evaluation, no transparent costings for drug sniffer dogs...lack of resources for programs to address drug use

No evaluation, no transparent costings for drug sniffer dogs...lack of resources for programs to address drug use | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
TASMANIAN prison dogs are being put through their paces sniffing out drugs in nearly one in 10 searches.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

Research tells us that drug use is a problem for many prisoners, it also tells us that prisoners continue to use drugs in prison. Yet there are limited resources for programs to deal with these issues. Instead we have a 'Drug Strategy Unit' designed to further punish drug users while they are in prison instead of focussing on treatment. Drug sniffer dogs are not a deterrent and there is no evaluation being conducted into their efficacy. Failing to address the underlying issues involved in drug use and only punishing users is completely ineffective and not a smart use of public money.

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Drug sniffer dogs, not effective and not a deterrent, but no evaluation being conducted

Increasing evidence that drug detecting dogs do not work...yet we continue to increase their use in Tasmania and at a significant cost. In Tasmanian prisons there is no evaluation being conducted on the efficacy of the use of drug dogs.

 

In 2010, a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis set out to test the reliability of drug- and bomb-sniffing dogs. The team assembled 18 police dogs and their handlers and gave them a routine task: go through a room and sniff out the drugs and explosives. But there was a twist. The room was clean. No drugs, no explosives. In order to pass the test, the handlers and their dogs had to go through the room and detect nothing. But of 144 runs, that happened only 21 times, for a failure rate of 85 percent. Although drug-sniffing dogs are supposed to find drugs on their own, the researchers concluded that they were influenced by their handlers, and that's what led to such a high failure rate.

 

The number of searches by drug detection dogs between July and
December 2009 totalled 595 (551 in male prisons and 44 in female prisons). Illicit drugs were detected by drug dogs on six occasions:
green vegetable matter (five occasions) and one tablet.

 

Drug dogs are also not a deterrent. Dr Matthew Dunn from Deakin University who authored a 2009 study on ecstasy users and drug detection dogs says the majority of surveyed users were undeterred.
He says, if anything, the dogs encouraged drug users to find ways around being caught. "What we found was that the majority had come into contact with a drug detection dog in the six months preceding the interview, but they don't really see them as a deterrent," he said. "If they knew dogs would be in an event that they were attending they would conceal their drugs better, avoid the dogs, take their drugs before they went to the event or change some pattern about what they did."

 

It is unknown what the cost of the prison drug detection program costs Tasmanians...and with no evaluation being conducted it is unclear if this is a wise use of resources, however, research would indicate that it is a waste of money.

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

Increasing evidence that drug detecting dogs do not work...yet we continue to increase their use in Tasmania and at a significant cost. In Tasmanian prisons there is no evaluation being conducted on the efficacy of the use of drug dogs. In 2010, a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis set out to test the reliability of drug- and bomb-sniffing dogs. The team assembled 18 police dogs and their handlers and gave them a routine task: go through a room and sniff out the drugs and explosives. But there was a twist. The room was clean. No drugs, no explosives. In order to pass the test, the handlers and their dogs had to go through the room and detect nothing. But of 144 runs, that happened only 21 times, for a failure rate of 85 percent. Although drug-sniffing dogs are supposed to find drugs on their own, the researchers concluded that they were influenced by their handlers, and that's what led to such a high failure rate. The number of searches by drug detection dogs between July and December 2009 totalled 595 (551 in male prisons and 44 in female prisons). Illicit drugs were detected by drug dogs on six occasions: green vegetable matter (five occasions) and one tablet. Drug dogs are also not a deterrent. Dr Matthew Dunn from Deakin University who authored a 2009 study on ecstasy users and drug detection dogs says the majority of surveyed users were undeterred. He says, if anything, the dogs encouraged drug users to find ways around being caught. "What we found was that the majority had come into contact with a drug detection dog in the six months preceding the interview, but they don't really see them as a deterrent," he said. "If they knew dogs would be in an event that they were attending they would conceal their drugs better, avoid the dogs, take their drugs before they went to the event or change some pattern about what they did." It is unknown what the cost of the prison drug detection program costs Tasmanians...and with no evaluation being conducted it is unclear if this is a wise use of resources, however research would indicate that it is a waste of money.

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American prison hosts first-ever father-daughter dance - CNN

American prison hosts first-ever father-daughter dance - CNN | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
Prisoners and their daughters dressed up for the first-ever Daddy-Daughter Dance at a Miami federal prison.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

What a wonderful idea, certainly something that would be appreciated in Tasmania.

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Talking Point: Call for cigarette prohibition an idea that’s doomed to fail

Talking Point: Call for cigarette prohibition an idea that’s doomed to fail | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it

isonBOARDWALK Empire is another superbly crafted period drama from the US production company HBO.

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

Won't work in the prison either. It will just become another illegal commodity to be trafficked leading to more violence and a prison which is even more unsafe.

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Solitary life for Risdon Prison inmates

Solitary life for Risdon Prison inmates | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
SOME Risdon Prison inmates are being kept in solitary confinement despite this being deemed a breach of internationally-recognised human rights conventions.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

Six months since this article and still no change, as the prison stubbornly refuses to uphold human rights. With no Prison Inspectorate, a State Government with a budget mess and a Minister who seems to be unable to progress the issues, human rights abuses continue to be a major issue in the prison. A complete lack of evidence based corrections practices, a contract system which is in chaos and no progress on prisoner pay systems. The only thing occurring in the prison are the new buildings. Let's hope these at least are functional (unlike the last ones).

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Lara Giddings on suspended sentences and prison

From Hansard 30 Oct 2014

 

There is always an argument around the 'university of crime' - our prison system.  You send people guilty of minor offences to university and at the end of that time in the prison system you may turn out a worse member of our community.  Particularly for those who are on less serious matters, that might be three or six months imprisonment or a couple of years.  I am not talking about those who are a danger to the community and need to be taken out in order to create a safer community.

 

Suspended sentences are an important part of how we can have a system that can place a punishment over the head of an offender but not necessarily send that offender to jail.  It is relevant to this bill in terms of the evidence that was collected that has found that person guilty and sent that person off to prison.

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

Lara Giddings stated in parliament on 30 October "There is always an argument around the 'university of crime' - our prison system.  You send people guilty of minor offences to university and at the end of that time in the prison system you may turn out a worse member of our community.  Particularly for those who are on less serious matters, that might be three or six months imprisonment or a couple of years.  I am not talking about those who are a danger to the community and need to be taken out in order to create a safer community.

 

Suspended sentences are an important part of how we can have a system that can place a punishment over the head of an offender but not necessarily send that offender to jail."

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When justice leaves us at a loss

When justice leaves us at a loss | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it

"Longer prison sentences aren’t the answer, because jail is a solution that generally doesn’t work, but prison will long remain a sentencing option of last resort. The Government’s commitment to abolish suspended sentences is a mistake too because it takes away an option when more are required."

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

As the article says:

"Longer prison sentences aren’t the answer, because jail is a solution that generally doesn’t work, but prison will long remain a sentencing option of last resort. The Government’s commitment to abolish suspended sentences is a mistake too because it takes away an option when more are required."


We need to address the cause of offending in order to be effective. Prison punishes the innocent as well as the offender, it fails to be effective in reducing reoffending. We need more options, not less, for our judges and magistrates. Greater investment into solutions with a sound evidence base is required.

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Outsmarted...

There is no shortage of drugs in our prison system. There are a variety of reasons for this, but principally, it is because prison management is unable to keep them out. It may help if there was a change in policy to reflect the fact that it is not only prisoners and visitors who can traffic drugs into our prison, staff can do it too. In fact, it is easier for staff to do than either of the other groups of people. I am sure that some officers are struggling, some will have suffered a significant loss of wages because it is much more difficult to rort the call back system. It is quite possible that some staff bring drugs into the prison to supplement their income. Why is it so easy for staff to traffic drugs? Because they are not subjected to strip searching or random urine tests. 

 

Recently 30 minimum security prisoners were subjected to a urine test for drugs. Of the 30 tested, 8 were found to have illicit drugs in their system. Six of the 8 provided relatively low scores and were transferred to a medium security unit and had there contact visits suspended (a ridiculous policy which is directly against best practice and evidence based corrections). One of the six was also re-classified to medium and lost contact visits for an additional 30 days. 

 

Now the two who had the highest reading, they stayed in minimum and there was no punishment at all for them. Why? They are informants - and they are clever like the Road Runner - they get to take all of the drugs, encourage others to take drugs and then only inform when they have had their fill. They face no punishment. None at all. Poor Wiley Coyote, outsmarted again! 

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

There is no shortage of drugs in our prison system. There are a variety of reasons for this, but principally, it is because prison management is unable to keep them out. It may help if there was a change in policy to reflect the fact that it is not only prisoners and visitors who can traffic drugs into our prison, staff can do it too. In fact, it is easier for staff to do than either of the other groups of people. I am sure that some officers are struggling, some will have suffered a significant loss of wages because it is much more difficult to rort the call back system. It is quite possible that some staff bring drugs into the prison to supplement their income. Why is it so easy for staff to traffic drugs? Because they are not subjected to strip searching or random urine tests. 

 

Recently 30 minimum security prisoners were subjected to a urine test for drugs. Of the 30 tested, 8 were found to have illicit drugs in their system. Six of the 8 provided relatively low scores and were transferred to a medium security unit and had there contact visits suspended (a ridiculous policy which is directly against best practice and evidence based corrections). One of the six was also re-classified to medium and lost contact visits for an additional 30 days. 

 

Now the two who had the highest reading, they stayed in minimum and there was no punishment at all for them. Why? They are informants - and they are clever like the Road Runner - they get to take all of the drugs, encourage others to take drugs and then only inform when they have had their fill. They face no punishment. None at all. Poor Wiley Coyote, outsmarted again! 

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High-cost care as buyers shun prison farm

High-cost care as buyers shun prison farm | Tasmania Prison Service Exposed | Scoop.it
TASMANIAN taxpayers are paying $4000 a week to maintain the mothballed Hayes Prison Farm as the State Government continues its search for a buyer.
Miriam Scurrah's insight:

$4000 a week, still no buyer, but heaven forbid they use it again as a prison, where it offered rehabilitation and reform....

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Pain, ombudsman and 'independent' medical services

It appears now that the prison medical service is once again firmly in the hands of corrective services. It appears that while Dr Ward is paid by the DHHS, the outcomes for patients seem to be totally controlled by TPS. Prisoners now need to ring the ombudsman to get their prescribed medications delivered. Disabled prisoners are forced to work. Injured prisoners are put on work lists and become stressed by the issues of being forced to work or being underpaid. The stress alone is bad for peoples recovery.

 

There certainly needs to be some significant investigations held in regards to the strong influence corrections staff, policies and practices have on the health practices at the prison. Let's face it the control was taken from TPS years ago because people were dying. We have also seen the consequences before at Ashleys with the unnecessary death of one boy. Lets make sure that they don't get it back - the operation of medical services at the prison must be independently run by qualified health professionals. Peoples medical needs must be placed BEFORE any correctional quackery.

Miriam Scurrah's insight:

It appears now that the prison medical service is once again firmly in the hands of corrective services. It appears that while Dr Ward is paid by the DHHS, the outcomes for patients seem to be totally controlled by TPS. Prisoners now need to ring the ombudsman to get their prescribed medications delivered. Disabled prisoners are forced to work. Injured prisoners are put on work lists and become stressed by the issues of being forced to work or being underpaid. The stress alone is bad for peoples recovery.

 

There certainly needs to be some significant investigations held in regards to the strong influence corrections staff, policies and practices have on the health practices at the prison. Let's face it the control was taken from TPS years ago because people were dying. We have also seen the consequences before at Ashleys with the unnecessary death of one boy. Lets make sure that they don't get it back - the operation of medical services at the prison must be independently run by qualified health professionals. Peoples medical needs must be placed BEFORE any correctional quackery.

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