CNS urgently needed to help tackle Aboriginal deaths in custody

Greens spokesperson for Corrective Services Hon Alison Xamon MLC has today called for the implementation of a Custody Notification Service (CNS) for Western Australia, as a first step to reducing Aboriginal deaths in custody in the state.

Ms Xamon urged the Government to prioritise the establishment of a CNS similar to that in place in New South Wales, following the death of a 19-year-old man at Derby’s West Kimberley Regional Prison on 3 May.

She said the service had effectively stopped Aboriginal deaths in custody in NSW since its introduction in 2000.

“In response to questions I asked in Parliament in September last year, the Government said it was working towards introducing a CNS for WA,” Ms Xamon said.

“Eight months have now passed and there has been yet another death – and still we do not know where the Government is up to with this.”

Ms Xamon said it had been more than 27 years since the program, which would offer culturally appropriate support and advice to Aboriginal people in custody, was first recommended by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

She said its implementation was long overdue.

“I offer my sincerest condolences to the family and community of the young man who lost his life in Derby this month,” Ms Xamon said.

“We must be doing more to ensure that every possible mechanism is put in place to prevent Aboriginal deaths in custody.”