EXCLUSIVE: The mother of a Port Phillip Prison inmate has slammed the authorities after a prisoner died on Sunday.
The woman, who asked not to be named while her son is incarcerated for driving offences, said the man apparently hanged himself.
The inmate's death followed a fire in a prisoner's cell on Monday last week at Victoria's privately run maximum security prison in Truganina. G4S operates the jail, which has the capacity for 951 men and received its first prisoners in 1997.
Centre for the Human Rights of Imprisoned People spokesman Charandev Singh said the prison operator had been found by the coroner to have contributed to previous deaths in custody.
"G4S have already been found five times to have contributed to deaths of inmates in their care. On four of those occasions it was in relation to not providing a safe physical environment for prisoners in terms of the provision of hanging points."
Prisoners' Legal Service principal solicitor Matilda Alexander said it was more than 20 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended all hanging points in prisons be removed. "How many more deaths have to occur before these recommendations are fully implemented?"
The inmate's mother said she believed the prison operator had a duty of care to prisoners.
"I don't know why there's no cameras there for starters. There should be cameras just outside the cells in the hallway so they can see what goes on.
"Even a lot of the fights and things that go on in there, there's no cameras in those areas. I think the main cause of a lot of what goes on in there is prisoners request to see a psych if they're struggling with depression or whatever and they just get told, 'Well, you know, it's in your head'. They're not given medication, not even those in pain." A Corrections Victoria spokesman confirmed that a 36-year-old prisoner was found dead on Sunday.
"Local police attended the prison, and the matter has been referred to the coroner for investigation in line with normal practice. The matter is not considered suspicious," he said. "In a separate, unrelated incident, a prisoner used a book to light a small fire in his cell at Port Phillip Prison on Monday, February 11.
"Staff responded immediately and the fire was extinguished within minutes. No staff or prisoners were injured and the damage was restricted to a few small singe marks on a wall."
G4S spokeswoman Emma Lindell said that "due to this matter being investigated by the coroner we are unable to comment further".