Simpson: death in custody

PIAC acted in a Coronial Inquest and compensation claim for the mother of Scott Simpson, who died while in custody.

In 2002, Scott Simpson was sent to prison on a minor charge. Mr Simpson committed suicide in June 2004 after spending the final two years of his life in solitary confinement in Long Bay prison.

At the time of his death, Mr Simpson was suffering from a severe mental illness and required urgent psychiatric treatment. However, because of his security classification, he was not receiving any ongoing therapeutic treatment.

After her son’s death, Mrs Simpson fought to hold the Department of Corrective Services and Justice Health accountable for her son’s death.

In 2006, the NSW Deputy State Coroner found that Justice Health and the Department failed to ensure that Scott Simpson received adequate and timely medical treatment for his mental illness.

In handing down her findings, the Coroner said: ‘more could have been done, should have been done and it wasn’t’. The Coroner made recommendations about new standards that should be in place for the treatment of mentally ill inmates in the NSW prison system.

Following the Coronial Inquest, Mrs Simpson brought a civil claim against the State of NSW and Justice Health for the nervous shock she suffered as a result of her son’s death. The claim was settled in her favour in 2008.

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