National Network Condemns Findings of WA’s Corruption and Crime Commission on Cleveland Dodd’s Death in Custody

The National Network is furious to hear that the Western Australia’s Corruption and Crime Commission has concluded that while breaches occurred, they found that there was no serious misconduct by prison staff in connection to the tragic death in custody of 16-year-old boy, Cleveland Dodd. This conclusion was reached despite a litany of departmental failures.

‘Systems investigating systems and cops investigating cops, must end. Justice is not being delivered in cases like these. Black lives matter, and so do Black deaths,’ said Tabitha Lean.

Cleveland Dodd self-harmed on 12 October 2023 in Unit 18 and succumbed to his injuries one week later. ‘This was a death in custody, where the system not only failed to protect him but ultimately caused his death,’ said Debbie Kilroy. ‘The state has let him down, failed his family and community, and even in his death, they have failed to deliver answers, truth, and justice,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

The heariing revealed egregious details:

  • Prisoners were denied medication if they displayed any violent behaviours.
  • Cleveland spoke about self-harm eight times on the night he took his own life.
  • Guards were reportedly watching movies while Cleveland self-harmed.
  • A senior guard was asleep as Cleveland fatally self-harmed.

‘How on earth can the Corruption and Crime Commission find no misconduct in light of these damning revelations? How can they possibly hold no one responsible? What do they need to hear and see to find someone, anybody,culpable?’ said Tabitha Lean.

‘While the Commission argues that the ongoing Coronial inquest, which commenced earlier this year, is best placed to focus on broader considerations and make whole-of government recommendations, as a National Network we know coronial inquests consistently fail to deliver justice for Aboriginal families. They always fall short of delivering answers or any kind of true justice,’ said Debbie Kilroy. ‘Coronial inquests notoriously deliver nothing more than alibis for the state and effectively allow the state to evade accountability for harming and killing people in their custody,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

The National Network demands immediate and significant changes to ensure justice is delivered. This includes independent investigations into deaths in custody, holding those responsible accountable.

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