Another death in custody

Another death in custody

PUCHONG: Another death in custody reported yesterday, attributed to tuberculosis involving a 26-year-old detainee Proosothaman. He died in Sg Buloh Hospital after being detained in Sg Buloh prison since Dec ’18.

“Why are our prisons not safe for detainees? Family demanding for a post-mortem to be done”, tweeted lawyer Melissa Sasidaran representing the case.

In her tweet , she said that the hospital alleged TB as cause of death and therefore reluctant to conduct post mortem. This is improper as all deaths in custody must be investigated thoroughly.

Melissa is seeking an explanation from the Home Ministry and Prisons Department on how a 26-year-old can be infected and die from TB at the Sg Buloh Prison.

“Surely he would have survived if timely and proper treatment was given. What are the prisons SOP when it comes to infectious diseases? “, questioned Melissa on her tweet.

“Surely we are entitled to ask how safe are our prisons especially from infectious diseases like TB. What steps are being taken to safeguard prisoners & wardens? Surely the authorities cannot wash their hands of any detainees’ death by claiming that they died from diseases”, she tweeted.

As per some study on custodial deaths conducted by Amritsar Medical College’s Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, TB along with HIV and Hepatitis-C was the cause of death in 22 per cent cases, which were recorded as natural deaths.

The availability of quality healthcare facilities to inmates has also emerged as a big issue in the prisons.

What needs to be done;

There should be regular health check-ups and an effective programme to screen and treat inmates.

Better maintenance of prisons, trained, sensitive and more dedicated staff and de-crowding of prisons are a few important suggestions to be followed.

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