Western Australia has recorded its third Aboriginal death in custody in less than two months after a prisoner in the state’s north took his own life.
Authorities have confirmed the 47-year-old man was found dead in his cell at Roebourne regional prison, 500km south-west of Broome, on Wednesday.
“The Aboriginal man was discovered unconscious in his six-person dormitory cell this morning by prison officers,” the state’s justice department said in a statement.
“Efforts by prison medical staff and paramedics to revive him were unsuccessful. Local police have attended the prison. There does not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.”
The man’s death will be subject to an inquest and an internal review of the incident will be conducted, the department said.
The corrective services commissioner, Tony Hassall, offered his condolences to the man’s family.
“Support will be offered to the family of the prisoner and other prisoners at the site,” the department said.
“In responding to this Indigenous death in custody, the department will seek cultural advice from community elders.”
The latest death in custody comes after a 19-year-old man at Acacia prison, run by private contractor Serco, took his own life earlier in July.
Before that, a 40-year-old Indigenous man was found collapsed at Acacia in June.
Thirteen Aboriginal prisoners and 29 non-Aboriginal prisoners have died in custody since July 2017, according to figures provided by the justice department.
The Aboriginal deaths included three suicides, one murder and one case where authorities were unable to determine whether the cause was natural. The remaining eight were from natural causes.
• Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78; Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
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