Human rights advocates are enraged following the “callous” treatment of a dying paedophile atJunee jail.
Keith Howlett was serving a two-year sentence for child-sex offences when he collapsed and died after just five weeks at the privately-run Junee Correctional Centre.
The Riverina facility has been criticised by the coroner following the “unnecessary” and “painful” death but online communities say his suffering was“deserved”.
Deputy State Coronermagistrate Harriet Grahame found the “disappointing” medicalneglect of 49-year-old Keith Howlett contributed to historturous final weeks -“full of despair”.
The inquest found Mr Howlett had been experiencing vomiting, insomnia and diarrhea and he wascoughing blood.
Mr Howlett had previously been diagnosed withlung cancer, HIV, peripheral vascular disease, chronic nausea, depression, anxiety, insomnia, gastro-oesophageal disease and hypercholesteromia.
While in jail, Mr Howlett was weaned off his pain medication,his cancer treatment was not continued and he was never seen by a psychiatrist.
Despite his pain, a wave of controversial comments flooding social mediahave deemed the inmate’s suffering to be a form of justice for the young “victimshe hurt”.
One Facebook comment read:“He was a filthy dirty paedophile. One can only hope his suffering was long and slow.”
“Is this a joke,” another post read. “All pedophiles rapists and murderers should be made suffer greatly. The coroner should be encouraging more of it.”
However Justice Action coordinator BrettCollins said a society was only as good as the way it treated its prisoners.
Mr Collins said many people would focus on an offender’s crime or the fact they violated normsbut it “didn’t remove the democratic entitlements of all humanbeings”.
“If we allow people who are dying to be treated callously, we are degrading our own community,” Mr Collins said.
“There is a clear, legal and moral obligation to look after all members of the community.”
Mr Collins saideven the deputy state coroner had been shocked by “the careless disregard for a dying man”.
“’He was going to die anyway’,was not the way he should have been treated,” Mr Collins said.
“What we have here is the GEO Group abdicating responsibility.”
Mr Collins said he feared the coroner’s recommendations for improved palliative care and health services in the centre would not be adopted.
“No one took responsibility in was an appalling case,” he said.
“The government think they can do whatever they want to people in prison and their legal entitlements are being ignored.”
Mr Collins saidGEO was “caught callously treating the livesof prisoners” and could not be trusted to supply health care.
He appealed to legislators to replace the centre’s health care services.
“It is essentialwe defend human, moral and legal rights,” he said.
“And it’s definitely essential for government and private companies like GEO to abide by their obligations.”
GEO Group have said they are reviewing recommendations.