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Prisoners are being housed with young children suffering at mental illness inside a hospital

Dangerous prisoners are being housed with young children suffering from mental illness inside a secure hospital facility

  • Prisoners are being housed with kids in Joan Ridley Unit at Royal Darwin Hospital
  • Anti-discrimination commissioner Sally Sievers said it’s been a long problem
  • She worries something dire will happen in the ward and patient will be ‘harmed’

Prisoners are being housed with young children at a mental illness facility inside a hospital, causing fears someone will be ‘harmed’.

Sally Sievers, NT’s anti-discrimination commissioner, said it’s been a long-standing problem that the differing patients are mixed together in the Joan Ridley Unit at Royal Darwin Hospital.

But the number of prisoners attending the facility for treatment has increased in the last year, causing more room for concern, the ABC reported.  

Prisoners are being housed with young children at a mental illness facility inside Royal Darwin Hospital (pictured)

‘Something is going to happen to someone on that ward — someone is going to be harmed,’ Ms Sievers told the publication.

Ms Sievers said prisoners are ‘absolutely entitled’ to mental health care but the space becomes crowded when they visit the unit with two prison guards.

‘You get a very small space with a really diverse mix of people,’ she explained. 

The anti-discrimination commissioner said she has been raising her issues with the unit to NT Health since 2016.

Sally Sievers, NT's anti-discrimination commissioner, said it's been a long-standing problem. 'Something is going to happen to someone on that ward ¿ someone is going to be harmed,' she said

Sally Sievers, NT’s anti-discrimination commissioner, said it’s been a long-standing problem. ‘Something is going to happen to someone on that ward — someone is going to be harmed,’ she said

Ms Sievers has also recorded the problems in the Community Visitor Program’s Annual Report 2018-19, which was tabled in Parliament this week. 

‘This mental health in-patient ward in Darwin struggles to provide services with inadequate facilities and the regular presence of forensic patients and prison guards,’ the report says.

‘Children and women on this ward face particularly heightened risk.’

Ms Sievers believes a new unit would be the long-term solution, as well as putting more money towards mental health.

‘It is concerning that the Northern Territory public mental health services funding is one of the lowest per capita in Australia,’ she said. 

A NT Health spokeswoman said they welcomed the annual report, in a statement to ABC. 

The spokeswoman said the department acknowledges the need to grow and deliver separation of service in a ‘safe’ way.    

Ms Sievers said prisoners are 'absolutely entitled' to mental health care but the space becomes crowded when they visit the unit with two prison guards (stock image)

Ms Sievers said prisoners are ‘absolutely entitled’ to mental health care but the space becomes crowded when they visit the unit with two prison guards (stock image)

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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