Tut Nyal Inquest raises concerns about suicide risk

Tut Nyal (pictured) was just a teenager when he
escaped the civil war in Sudan and arrived in Australia as a refugee.

Sadly, Mr
Nyal died a decade later in a Silverwater prison cell, at the age of 26. His
was a tragic ending to a difficult life.

Earlier this month, the NSW Deputy State
Coroner found that Mr Nyal died on 17 March 2009 as a result of actions Mr Nyal
took to end his own life.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
represented two members of Mr Nyal’s family at the Coronial Inquest into Mr
Nyal’s death.

‘From the family’s perspective, Corrective Services
NSW failed to take proper care of Tut Nyal,’ said PIAC Solicitor Peter Dodd.

‘Tut Nyal was placed in the wrong cell at Silverwater.
This caused a delay in finding him and Tut was dead by the time he was
discovered,’ Mr Dodd said.

The Coroner said it was not possible to determine
whether Mr Nyal might have been found sooner and his death prevented, if he had
been placed in a different cell.

The Coroner made no recommendations as a result of
the Inquest. The Inquest findings are attached.

However, Mr Dodd said the Inquest raised concerns
about whether the NSW prison system adequately manages the risk of suicide.

there’s an unsophisticated response to the risk of self-harm. Inmates deemed at
risk of self-harm are placed under full observation in a safe cell. But all
other inmates are placed in regular prison cells.

‘An intermediate step is needed, especially for
inmates such as Mr Nyal who are being transitioned out of a safe cell into the
regular system,’ Mr Dodd said.

‘PIAC urges Corrective Services NSW to provide an
intermediate level of observation and care before inmates, previously
considered at risk, are returned to normal cells.’

CONTACT: PIAC Media Officer, Dominic O’Grady.
Ph: (02) 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169.

Photo courtesy of the Nyal family.

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