The Greens have today thrown their support behind a Parliamentary inquiry into the circumstances of the death in custody of Wayne ‘Fella’ Morrison in Yatala Labor Prison last month.
Greens SA Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation spokesperson, Tammy Franks MLC, stated: “Wayne ‘Fella’ Morrison was 29 years young, has never been convicted of any crime, had never been in a prison before, but last month was put in Yatala Labour Prison and died in custody a few days later.
“Just what happened at Yatala prison that day which caused this man to lose his life? Why was he in a prison at all? Why not the Remand Centre? Why have requests for the release of the CCTV footage been denied?
“My sympathy also goes out to those workers injured in the critical incident at Yatala that day, but, unlike Mr. Morrison, those workers have lived to tell their side of the story.
“Mr. Morrison is survived by a young daughter and a family who love him, they deserve answers. Wayne is not here to tell his side of the story - that is why a SAPOL investigation and the Coroner’s inquiry are not enough.
“We had a Royal Commission into this 25 years ago because Aboriginal People were dying in extraordinary numbers in Australians prisons. It’s still happening and the incarceration rates are still going in the wrong direction. There were 339 recommendations from that Royal Commission. Most have been ignored. It’s high time we put more of them into practice,” she concluded.
A Liberal motion to establish a Select Committee to inquire into a number of recent incidents in South Australia’s corrections system is now on the Notice Paper of SA Parliament. The support of the Greens means only two more votes (from either Family First, Xenophon Team or Dignity for Disability) are needed for it to pass. That Select Committee would have the power to compel information and witnesses.