Justice organisations in the Australian state of New South Wales have called for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners to be released to reduce the risk of a spread of infections throughout the prison population.
Four inmates at Silverwater jail, one of Sydney’s biggest prisons have tested positive to COVID-19.
The four inmates had just entered custody and were being held at the jail’s remand and reception centre. Local media reported on Monday.
Due to imminent health crisis, Deadly Connections (DC), an Aboriginal organization that supports people in jail is calling with the justice sector and experts to New South Wales (NSW) and Corrective Services to immediately release of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from jails.
‘Overcrowded indoor settings in NSW prisons create a grave threat of Covid transmission.
Deadly Connections fears that the current situation will precipitate Aboriginal deaths in custody if immediate action is not taken by the NSW Government to release people from prisons.’ Said in a media release DC.
DC says the Pfizer vaccine must also be made available to people in prisons, and rapid antigen testing be given to corrections workers.
Professor Thalia Anthony of the University of Technology Sydney said the Corrective Services Commissioner should use his discretion to release people to reduce the threat of outbreaks in prisons.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are significantly overrepresented in the Australian prison system.