WHEN: Thursday 11 March, 12pm (midday)
WHERE: Coroner’s Court of NSW, 1A Main Ave, Lidcombe
DETAILS: Her Honour Magistrate Ryan, Deputy State Coroner, will release the findings into the death of Nathan Reynolds at 10am on Thursday in courtroom 3. Nathan Reynolds’ sisters, Taleah and Makayla Reynolds, will speak to media outside the court at midday. Sarah Crellin, Principal Solicitor (Crime Practice), Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT will also make a statement.
MEDIA CONTACT: Alyssa Robinson – [email protected] / 0427 346 017
The family of Aboriginal man Nathan Reynolds are demanding accountability from Justice Health and NSW Corrective Services ahead of Thursday’s coronial findings into his death in custody.
A coronial inquest has been investigating Nathan’s death of a severe asthma attack in 2018. He was just one week away from being released from the Outer Metropolitan Multi-Purpose Centre in Western Sydney, where he was serving a four-month fixed term.
“Nathan was an adored brother, son, father, step-father, nephew and grandson. He loved his work as a tradie, spending time with his family, playing sport and cracking jokes,” his family said in a statement.
“It’s soul-crushing knowing that at just 36 years old, Nathan died on the cold floor of a prison, separated from his family and loved ones. Words can’t describe our pain.
“We are also angry because Nathan’s death was preventable. He would not have died if he weren’t in prison. This can’t just be treated as an accident – it must be recognised as a huge institutional failing and people must be held responsible.”
The Reynolds family has submitted a number of requested recommendations to the coroner. They want to see greater awareness throughout the prison system of the seriousness of asthma, and consistent processes to screen for asthma and manage the health of people in prison. They also want to see concrete measures to make the systems and people responsible for Nathan’s death accountable.
“In the case of Nathan’s death, we see a prison culture that was sceptical of the medical needs of residents. While processes existed to manage chronic health conditions, these were hardly worth the paper they were written on, as staff were either unaware of them or failed to follow them,” said Karly Warner, CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT.
“In the four months he was in prison, Nathan’s health steadily deteriorated and there were clear signs that he was heading for an acute asthma attack. He was cut off from community healthcare and entirely in the hands of Corrective Services NSW and Justice Health, who failed in their responsibilities to him.
“That failure cost Nathan his life. This is why we say that Aboriginal people’s lives are put at risk when they are sent to prison.”
Nathan Reynolds is one of more than 440 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have passed away in custody since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The 30th anniversary of the Royal Commission’s final report is coming up in April. Many of its recommendations have not been met.
Two more Aboriginal people died in NSW prisons last week.
Media contact: Alyssa Robinson – [email protected] / 0427 346 017
Previous media releases on this inquest can be found below:
The Reynolds family have given permission to media to publish the below images: