31 Jul 2010

Family awarded compensation over prison van death

7:58 am on 31 July 2010

The Western Australian Government has awarded the family of an Aboriginal elder who died from heat stroke in the back of a prison van an ex-gratia payment of $A3.2 million.

The man was being transported by the company G4S on a four hour trip in scorching temperatures, in a van with no air conditioning.

The local coroner found the two prison van drivers, G4S and the Department of Corrective Services all responsible for the death, two years ago.

G4S - one of the firms bidding to run Mt Eden prison in Auckland - has also been criticised twice this month by Britain's chief inspector of prisons.

The company will not comment while the tender process for running Mt Eden prison is under way.

The ABC reports that the elder, who is known only as Mr Ward for cultural reasons, was widely respected, particularly in his community of Warburton, and his death provoked a series of changes to Australian corrective services facilities.