Rapes and extreme violence of Aboriginal inmates in WA by Joyce Capewell 21 February 2014
number of years back a prisoner was brutality raped by three other prisoners in the Western Australian DCS Greenough Regional Prison. The traumatized, fearful, confused and raped prisoner did not confide in anyone until three days after. Appallingly today the 20th February 2014, I hear of another despicable case of alleged rape within the horrid GRP, this time from the imprisoned victim’s mother and another source. The desperate Kimberley mother of the latest alleged sexually abused incarcerated victim sought the media to bring awareness of her son’s nightmare. The mother called Lena is living a nightmare of her own as well. Since my awareness of this despicable nightmare horror, I have had the opportunity to speak with Lena. I have also let it be known to the WA Minster of DCS, Joe Francis and Commissioner, James McMahon, GRP management and Aboriginal Visitors Scheme management this despicable alleged matter is now very public. The AVS is considered the vital “eyes and ears” within the Prison (so to speak) for our Aboriginal prisoners. The raped prisoner of a number of years ago, waited 3 days until the AVS arrived (which was myself) to report his horrifying rape ordeal. This prisoner was also familiar with me and I had gained his trust and confidence over the years, as with many other prisoners. I soon got the ball rolling to have the allegations
West Aust DCS Minister Joe Francis (left) and DCS Commissioner James McMahon (right). Image supplied
investigated. The dreadful rape allegations of the young prisoner were horrifyingly proven to be true. I spent many hours helping this young man come through his nightmare ordeal. The GRP management and prison officers called for me to attend and support this young man at times after the event; the AVS was very much supported in those days. Prisoners experiencing horrifying ordeals such as “rape” require vital culturally appropriate assistance, the AVS play a vital role with Aboriginal prisoners as they will not talk and confide to “foreigners” (the counsellors in
GRP). Also, the so-called counsellors appear to turn a “blind eye” to disastrous prison events, at times. Disgustingly, the AVS has not been operating within the horrid GRP for over two years since two young Yamaji brothers attempted to hang themselves. The DCS and the AVS management are failing tremendously with providing a “culturally appropriate counselling service” for Aboriginal prisoners within the horrid GRP. The DCS continues to provide a hideous prison support counselling service made up of “recent foreigners”, that no one wants, including the wider
Yamaji community and Elders. This ridiculous “culturally inappropriate prison counselling service” used to cater for Aboriginal prisoners, now also appears to be failing miserably. Domestic violence also happens within GRP. Several years ago the GRP management allowed a young Aboriginal woman to share a cell with a non - Aboriginal lesbian prisoner who was convicted of a well-known gruesome murder of another female. The convicted lesbian murderer was transferred to GRP to be separated from her lesbian lover in Bandiyup Prison who also assisted her with the murder; both were jailed and received life sentences. This murder consisted of violently killing another female and disposing of her body in a wheelie bin. Shockingly, the GRP management and other staff, including the white South African psychologist, were well aware the convicted lesbian murderer was now in another intense intimate relationship with an Aboriginal female in their prison. Allegations were rife among the prisoners of the young Aboriginal woman prisoner continuously being assaulted by the non - Aboriginal convicted murderer lesbian prisoner. This deploring violence situation in GRP was distressing for all the other female prisoners in the unit. Another traumatized white female prisoner came forward to AVS (myself) and reported the violence situation to me. The other female prisoners also were gravely concerned for the safety of the Aboriginal female prisoner, just as I felt, once I was notified. The AVS service at times supports non-Aboriginal prisoners, at the prisoners’ request. I acted promptly and referred the matter to the GRP White South African
physiologist, who then contacted GRP management; regarding the non-Aboriginal prisoner had disclosed her concerns and complaints to AVS. At the time I also had to make out written AVS contact reports of this incomprehensible outrageous incident, as AVS contact reports are required at all times when supporting a prisoner. At the time, I admit I became rather baffled upon speaking to the distressed white prisoner informant as she claimed she was being victimized and threatened for highlighting the serious issue of extreme violence perpetrated on other inmates in the female unit. I felt the white female prisoner informant was threatened to “keep quiet” and was not being listened to by GRP management. Prisoners’ punishment for their crime on the outside is loss of freedom on the inside – but they should not be subjected to witnessing and being a victim of further inhumane violent abuse whilst incarcerated. The white female prisoner (informant) was ostracized for making a fuss and transferred. The informant was labelled a trouble maker and accused of causing tension in the unit. Extreme violence happening in a prison is the least expectant place on earth one would perceive. The White South African Psychologist in GRP should have been objecting vigorously to the situation of a lesbian prisoner who was convicted of a gruesome murder of another female “sharing a cell” with any other female prisoner, from the very beginning, if she (Psychologist) had been completing her assigned work duties sufficiently. To allow the sharing of a cell with another female regarding one being a lesbian prisoner convicted of a violent gruesome murder of another female is a recipe for disaster at any time, least of all
when the prisoners are involved in an intimate physical abusive relationship. The GRP Superintendent at the time of this horrifying ordeal was previous Superintendent David Florance, who also was failing miserably to fulfil the tasks of his allocated position. I ask “where was the common sense of those within GRP management and the Psychologist in the prison”? I also ask “where is their moral decency and trust within their assigned duties”? The DCS system is supposed to maintain a “duty of care” for their clients. As far as I am aware the lesbian female prisoner who is serving a life sentence for the gruesome murder of another female remains in the GRP. After receiving the disturbing email yesterday regarding “rape allegations” of another young male Aboriginal prisoner in GRP, it appears the continuing horrors of the famously known GRP are going from bad to worse. Sadly, I am always wondering and questioning “when is the next Death in Custody going to happen within GRP”? I also feel disheartened for Aboriginal prisoners in GRP dealing with traumatic issues daily and do not have culturally appropriate assistance available at all times and support of intervention with regards to the unsavoury despicable matters of “prison rape and violence”. After all prisoners are punished by loss of freedom, and do not need to be subjected to further despicable inhumane suffering within DCS Prisons who are falsely claim to be rehabilitating them and wasting many millions of taxpayers’ dollars whilst doing so. The GRP and DCS also continue to be “defiant” and not provide a consistent quality AVS service to our Aboriginal prisoners in the horrid GRP when needed in times of uncalled for inhumane crisis circumstances.