The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) are deeply saddened by the news that an Aboriginal man has died at Loddon Prison in Castlemaine.
VACCHO extend their most sincere condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of the deceased.
This latest tragedy is the second Aboriginal death in custody in the state in five weeks.
It is now over thirty years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Sadly, the 1991 report that was heralded as “groundbreaking” appears to have delivered very little in the way of results. If anything, the situation appears to be further deteriorating.
Over 500 Aboriginal people have died in custody since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991.
VACCHO are calling for urgent action to address the completely avoidable loss of lives that continue to shatter the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Victoria.
VACCHO calls upon the Victorian Government to utilise the Community controlled health sector as the primary provider to deliver health care to vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria to ensure another preventable death is mitigated.
VACCHO shares Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) CEO Nerita Waight’s serious concerns about the quality of healthcare provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prisons in Victoria and fully endorse calls for a thorough investigation into this tragedy.
Proud Dja Dja Wurrung and Wiradjuri man and VACCHO Chairperson Michael Graham says the death of another member of the Aboriginal community whilst in custody is extremely upsetting.
“As a result of this tragedy yet another Aboriginal family is left to deal with the consequences of a system that continues to see members of our community imprisoned at rates disproportionate to those of the general population.”
“It is completely unacceptable that we continue to see our loved ones and community members die in custody on a regular basis. This cannot and must not be accepted as the norm”
“This latest tragedy is a reminder of the need for urgent work to be done to change a system that is clearly failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
“At the heart of this change we need to see real health care – culturally safe care – because a lack of such care results in preventable, avoidable and unnecessary loss of life.”
“Deaths in custody leave our community in a constant state of mourning. Our flag is always flying at half-mast. The cycle must be broken – the deaths in custody must stop.”