First Nations Teenager Dies in Problem-Plagued WA Prison Unit


Summary: A First Nations teenager died in an Australian prison unit after being placed in adult prison on remand. The boy’s death, which was ruled as a suicide, has brought attention to the ongoing issues within the prison system.

A 16-year-old First Nations teenager has died in a problem-plagued youth detention unit inside an adult prison called Casuarina Prison. The boy, who had not yet been convicted, was found unresponsive in his cell by guards conducting routine checks. Despite being revived and taken to the hospital, the boy’s life support was later switched off. The incident has raised concerns about the treatment of young offenders in the prison system.

Casuarina Prison’s Unit 18, where the boy was detained, has been under scrutiny due to a high number of attempted suicides and incidents of self-harm. The facility, initially established as a temporary place for young, difficult offenders, has remained open indefinitely. In response to criticism regarding the conditions in Unit 18, Corrective Services Minister Paul Papalia stated that managing this challenging cohort of detainees poses a significant challenge, and that efforts are being made to improve the unit. However, advocates argue that the government has failed to provide adequate mental health support and safety measures for young inmates.

The boy’s death will be subject to a mandatory inquest, and both the Department of Justice and the coroner will conduct investigations. The tragedy highlights the need for reforms in the Australian prison system, particularly in regard to the treatment and support of young, vulnerable detainees.

Tags: First Nations, teenager, prison unit, suicide, youth detention, death in custody, prison reform