Ombudsman slams suicide-friendly prisons

The Victorian Ombudsman, George Brouwer, has produced a scathing report on safety in the state’s prisons. In addition to problems caused by overcrowding, his report identifies suicide as a significant risk: “there have been six prisoners in the past six years (several of whom had mental health issues) who committed suicide by hanging, nearly all in cells which did not comply with the cell and fire safety guidelines”. Brouwer notes that 38% of cells still have “hanging points”. The Government has responded by pointing out the significant cost of implementing the recommendations; however, the Ombudsman notes that the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended the removal of hanging points over 22 years ago.