Death by Suicide in WA Prisons: The Prison Kills Us – We Don’t Kill Ourselves

The National Network is deeply troubled by a new report that reveals that at least 18 attempted suicides in WA prisons in just 10 months were misclassified.

A new report by the state’s Inspector of Custodial Services has revealed that, in less than one year, at least 18 attempted suicides in Western Australia’s prisons were misclassified as acts or threats of self-harm. The Inspector’s review also identified another 20 self-harm incidents that appeared to be attempted suicides.

‘The reality is that while the system, academics and politicians are arguing over whether something is self-harm or an attempted suicide, there are real people behind these numbers. The fact that the prison system is not getting the reporting on something as serious as self-harm and suicide correct is an indication of how much they value our lives in prison,’ said Tabitha Lean. ‘We have 339 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody that still need implementing, and if governments cannot get something as straightforward as data collection correct, we are in serious trouble,’ said Tabitha Lean.

Prisons are violent and brutal places, marked by neglect, isolation, and a lack of adequate mental health and medical support. The prison system is making individuals hyper-responsible, blaming us
for our own deaths, while implicitly working towards our demise, as if it were our own choice.

‘It is essential to recognise these are not deaths in custody, it isn’t the prisoners who kill themselves; it is the prison system that kills us,’ said Debbie Kilroy. ‘Death by suicide in prison is a reframing of racial capitalism that places the blame squarely on the prisoners. As a National Network we hold the prison system accountable for its role in these preventable deaths,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

The National Network demands immediate action to address these systemic failures; and call for prioritize the mental health and well-being of incarcerated individuals, and that hold the prison system accountable for its role in these preventable deaths.

For further comment, please contact Tabitha Lean 0499 780 226 or Debbie Kilroy on 0419 762 474