Petition: Stop COVID Aboriginal Deaths in Custody before it's too late

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My name is Makayla Reynolds, 

I’m a proud 21 year old Gamilaraay woman living on Bedeagal land, Sydney. I started work at the Aboriginal Legal Service helping our people because in 2018 my worst nightmare became reality. 

My brother Nathan died from an asthma attack in prison. It took 40 minutes from the first call of help for someone to arrive, despite the pleas and screams of the young men around him. But it was too late for my brother.  

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a pandemic that will impact everyone.  But the most at risk are people like my brother.  Aboriginal, chronically ill and incarcerated.  My brother, a proud Aboriginal man and loving dad, had a known asthma condition and couldn’t survive the conditions of minimum-security prison. 

The only way to protect our people in prison is the temporary release of those most at risk of dying.

We call on all Governments and Corrective Services, to follow the lead of other nations by allowing sick people in prison to serve home detention while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the community - before it’s too late. 


Overcrowded prisons are not equipped to deal with a deadly pandemic. Correctional officers are not trained to be health-care workers. We call on Government and Corrective Services in all States and Territories to act before it is too late. This includes parole authorities showing mercy.

All people who serving a sentence for a non-violent offence or are un-sentenced must be released until the COVID-19 crisis has passed.  Internationally, Iran has released of 85,000 prisoners who are not a risk to the community and Ireland will release people with less than 12 months to serve. The United States and United Kingdom are following.

Each day there is an influx of workers and corrections and allied workers to prisons and youth detention centres. We need bail for our people on remand and to prevent any new people entering prisons.

To prevent countless more Aboriginal deaths in custody, where possible, we must immediately release detainees to serve their term or remand in home detention until COVID-19 passes.  This is the only way to protect people in prison and the community.


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