Ward 5c - Privatisation and Necro-Transport


Privatisation and Necro-Transport

To minimize instances of contemporary transport of prisoners away from their lands, Mr Ward’s community themselves paid for the first police station on their lands, contributing their CDEP funds to help construct a police lockup in Warburton, so that those incarcerated on minor charges were not removed to distant jails. The initiative demonstrates the importance the community placed on keeping prisoners on Country. Yet their wish continues to be denied, with destructive, and in this case fatal, consequences.

Contemporary transportations of prisoners are complicated by the involvement of private companies such as Global Solutions Limited (GSL now known as G4S), Serco and Broadspectrum. Indeed, the conditions of Mr Ward’s horrific death had been foreshadowed by years of unheeded warnings against the dangers of this mode of transport.

For both the Department and GSL, it was preferable to allow prisoners to continue being transported in substandard vehicles than to establish and enforce procedures that would ensure their safety. Apathy, indifference and racism meant that on a 40 degree day no checks were made to ensure that the air conditioning system was working.


Standard Operating Procedures: citing two earlier reports, the Coroner found ‘an abundance of information’ relating to the systemic problems with the design and condition of the vehicle fleet, ongoing issues with the functioning of air-conditioning and the predisposition of the vehicles to break down

  • Inspector of Custodial Services reports in 2001 and 2007
  • Complaints by GSL employees
  • Report by Car Air Wholesale in September 2001, identifying that the Mazda E2500 vehicles used for prisoner transport were ‘never designed to be used in remote locations in conditions of extreme heat.’

This catalogue of ‘systemic problems’ evidences the deployment of standard operating procedures that structurally work to injure or kill those captured within the everyday operations of the state’s normative regimes of policing, necro-transport and custodial quartering.


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