People with disabilities in Australia’s prison system are routinely kept in solitary confinement for up to 22 hours a day and are at serious risk of sexual and physical violence, according to an explosive report by Human Rights Watch that’s making political waves.
The report, titled “‘I Needed Help, Instead I Was Punished’: Abuse and Neglect of Prisoners With Disabilities in Australia,” calls for an urgent inquiry into the use of solitary confinement for disabled prisoners. The report says that one man with a psychosocial disability had been in solitary confinement in a maximum security unit for 19 years.
Sen. Rachel Siewert of the Greens party called for swift action: “We already know that many people with disability are wrongfully detained in our prison system, so to hear about this utterly harrowing abuse and neglect highlights the need for a royal commission and for reform.”
HRW interviewed 275 people, including prison staff, medical professionals and …