Guard accused of withholding meals from vulnerable Aboriginal prisoner

Guard accused of withholding meals from vulnerable Aboriginal prisoner

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Water was available at all times from inside the cell.

A spokesman for the GEO Group Australia, the private operator of Ravenhall, confirmed a staff member had been suspended from duty while it investigated the claims, but refused to provide details.

A review of forensic mental health services Ravenhall, obtained by The Age in November, described chronic staff shortages, compromised patient care and chaotic leadership since it opened in October 2017 as a 1000-bed prison.

The Andrews government later activated a clause in its contract GEO Group to increase the population to 1300.

An Andrews government spokeswoman said: “We expect all correctional staff to act to the highest standards at all times and that any allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated.

“As this matter is now under investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Treatment of Aboriginal people in custody is facing renewed scrutiny after two recent Victorian deaths.

Earlier this month, Yorta Yorta woman Veronica Marie Nelson Walker was found dead in the government-run Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, next door to Ravenhall, on January 2.

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Ms Walker’s family has since questioned the supervision provided by Corrections staff while she was being held in an observation cell after being refused bail for alleged shoplifting.

In March, coroner Caitlin English is expected to hand down her findings into the death in custody of another Yorta Yorta woman, Tanya Day.

Ms Day, a 55-year-old grandmother, fell and suffered a head injury while in a regional Victorian police cell after being arrested for drunkenness on a train on December 5, 2017. She died two weeks later.

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