Deaths in Custody and Detention | Justice and Accountability

Monday, 26 February 2024 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

*Content Warning: This episode of Doin' Time may contain audio images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have died, and discussion of Deaths in Custody.

First on the show is Chloe de Silva, who is an activist with the Refugee Action Collective, a member of the Socialist Alliance and presenter of the Friday breakfast time ’Green Left Weekly Radio’ show, which has its home here on 3CR Radio. 

Chloe talks in commemoration of Reza Barati’s horrifically brutal murder, in which he was beaten to death by guards and other contractors during a violent rampage inside the Manus Island detention centre in 2014. Reza Barati was 23 when he was murdered. She discusses Australia’s brutal and cruel border policies and the ongoing struggle faced by refugees and their families in their fight for basic human rights.

An event hosted by the Refugee Action Collective called 'Why does Labor support corrupt and racist border policies?' Will be held at the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre in Carlton on 18th March at 6.30pm.

Next up on the show is Ilo Diaz, the advocacy coordinator for the Police Accountability Project, which is associated with Inner Melbourne Community Legal. Ilo reports back on the 17th of February Speak Out at Melbourne’s State Library that was held to commemorate the tragic death of 17 year old TJ Hickey, in 2014. The event was organised by mother of TJ, Gail Hickey, who is still seeking truth and justice for her son. The conversation also discusses topics such as police accountability and the failure of police mechanisms to adequately investigate police complaints. 

Last on the show, Marisa talks with Sarah Schwartz, who was a speaker at the TJ Hickey Speak Out, and is the manager of the Wirraway Police and Prison Accountability Practise at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, as well as a lecturer at the Melbourne Law School. Sarah talks about her work in taking action against the police, protecting the rights of prisoners, and coronial inquests into Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander deaths in custody. She has previously represented the family of Veronica Nelson, who died in custody in January 2020, and is currently attending court for the coronial inquest of Heather Calgaret who also died in custody on November 2021. They discuss these cases in terms of prison healthcare, Victoria’s harsh system of parole, and how this has lead to the violation of human rights and contributed to the mistreatment of people in prison.

Since the Royal Commission into deaths in custody, there have been over 560 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody. Sarah highlights the bravery and determination of the families fighting for justice on behalf of their loved ones who have died in custody, and highlights the importance of such organisations as the Dhadjowa Foundation in supporting their struggle. 

Doin Time 4-5pm Mondays
Monday 4:00pm to 5:00pm
An open forum, presenting information and discussion around issues faced by prisoners in the criminal justice system and migration detention centres.