The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia says the lack of air conditioning at Roebourne Regional Prison could breach international human rights conventions, and it is considering a formal complaint.
Prisoners at Roebourne Regional Prison have been asking for air conditioning to be installed in all cells since 2015.
A report by the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services released in 2020 recommended the government implement effective climate control in all residential units at the prison.
Mackay teacher Jacob Aitken launches action against Queensland government over vaccine mandates
A north Queensland teacher is claiming vaccine mandates for educators go against Queensland's Human Rights Act.Mackay-based state schoolteacher Jacob Aitken filed the civil application for a statutory order of review in the Supreme Court in Mackay this week.
This recommendation has not been followed.
Last week Roebourne reached 50.5 degrees Celsius. When contacted, the Department of Justice said installing air-conditioning in all residential cells at the prison was not a current infrastructure priority.
ALS WA chief executive Dennis Eggington has called on Premier Mark McGowan to act.
"It's inhumane treatment," he said.
"The Premier should step in to sort this out and with the [budget] surplus should get aircon in there for those prisoners before this escalates to a death."
'It's a form of torture'
Mr Eggington said the extreme heat prevented prisoners from sleeping at night and contributed to mental health problems.
"It's more than a breach of human rights, it's a form of torture just because people are Aboriginal," he said.
Operation Fox Hunt and China's international efforts to force 'fugitives' back
A human rights watchdog says thousands of people including government critics have been forcibly returned to China under the guise of anti-corruption efforts. It says some were even kidnapped.A new report by Spain-based NGO Safeguard Defenders said at least eight Australian residents appear to have been involuntarily returned by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to face prosecution for alleged "economic crimes" in China.
The majority of prisoners at Roebourne Regional Prison are Aboriginal.
Mr Eggington said the ALS WA would consider making a complaint to international bodies such as the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
"I believe it falls within an area which is covered by conventions on torture and inhumane treatment, and to me, that's exactly what's happening," he said.
"I wouldn't even do that to my little puppy at home when it's 50-degree day that little puppy is inside in the air conditioning."
"People are being treated worse than animals."
Australian Green's Senator Dorinda Cox said prisoners not having access to air conditioning was a breach of human rights.
"This is also in breach of the Royal commissions, Deaths in Custody recommendations that are about making sure everyone is afforded their human rights," she said.
Mr Eggington said he felt the lack of air conditioning as Roebourne Prison was a form of direct racism due to the majority Aboriginal population.
Indigenous languages are disappearing. These linguists are trying to stop that
There are more than 250 Indigenous languages in Australia but only about 12 are still spoken regularly across different generations within communities.Without immediate intervention, over 1,500 of these languages could be lost by the end of the century.
Fans in every cell
The Premier's office and the Corrective Services Minister Bill Johnston were contacted for an interview but declined.
The Premier's office did not answer specific questions such as why air conditioning was not a priority at Roebourne regional prison.
Biden Keeps Trump Immigration Policies—and Stephen Miller Is Loving It
Moments after he was sworn into office, President Joe Biden made good on the first of dozens of promises he had made to immigrant communities on the campaign trail—bursting out of the gate with the repeal of some of the Trump administration’s most aggressively anti-immigration policies and the introduction of a vast legislative package that would create a path to citizenship for eight million people living in the United States. On that day,On that day, Biden looked to his pro-immigration supporters to be exceeding their highest expectations.
The Department of Justice said it employs several effective controls to manage the heat risk across the State.
"At Roebourne, this includes fans in every cell, air-conditioning in the recreation hall, shade structures in the main areas of the prison and a flexible routine to adjust to the Pilbara's heat conditions," they said.
"There are a limited number of air-conditioned cells available for prisoners with medical conditions and air-conditioned transition cells for Section 95 prisoners who undertake full-day outdoor physical activities."
Medical staff are also on duty to ensure the prisoners' health and safety.
Back in 2020, former Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan said installing air conditioning in all cells would be very expensive.
He said inmates were allowed to sleep on the verandah or Roebourne regional prison.
IS prison break in Syria sparks days of clashes
More than 70 people have been killed in the fighting between militants and Kurdish-led forces.Kurdish-led forces backed by US air strikes have been battling militants in the city of Hasaka since Thursday.
"That happens quite a bit because people feel far more comfortable sleeping outside on the verandah than in their cells," he said.
Mr Logan said back in 2020 that the prison was designed to have maximum airflow.
"The idea of air conditioning the whole of the prison is not only quite expensive, it's also very expensive. It's whether people would appreciate it because there are some people who literally don't like air conditioning."
Mr Eggington said he was calling for the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and the Premier to spend a night in a cell in Roebourne Prison without air conditioning.