Thursday, February 2, 2012

GARTH DANIELS - and - UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Revisited - Solitary Confinement

"In modern prison systems of the world one can trace the origins of the philosophy of rehabilitation through isolation to the Pennsylvania prison model, developed in the 1820s at the Cherry Hill Prison. The aim of the model was to rehabilitate criminals through solitary confinement; prisoners spent all their time in their cells, including work, in order to reflect on their transgressions and return to society "morally cleansed" *
*U.N.General Assembly 28 July 2008, sixty third session Item 67 (a) of the provisional agenda* Promotion and protection of human rights:implementation of human rights instruments.

On 28 Janaury 2011 Garth Daniels admitted himself to Peninsula Hospital Frankston as a result of an adverse reaction to a prescribed Community Treatment Order intra-muscular injection, and; found himself transferred to Thomas Embling Forensic Hospital(sic). Garth Daniels has been held at Thomas Embling for almost 365 days. Since 25 January 2012 Garth Daniels has been kept in solitary confinement for 24 hours a day.

"Considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause, it can amount to torture or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles"; Juan Mendez U.N.Special Rapporteur as quoted in the UN News Centre 18 October 2011.

In April 2008, an Australian Supreme Court Judge Bongiorno in a terrorist trial over mistreatment of prisoners inside the maximum security Acacia Unit, about 60 kilometetres from Melbourne, noted that the defendants had been kept locked in individual cells for up to 23 hours a day, with severe restrictions on receiving visitors.... Why is Garth Daniels who is not a terrorist being locked up in solitary confinement for 24 hours a day?

Judge Bongiorno in relation to the prisoners confinement summed up the testimony of Dr.Douglas Bell, a government forensic psychiatrist, in these terms: "Dr. Bell considered that in the circumstances of the applicants it is more likely than not that an ordinary person would experience significant psychological and emotional difficulties. These difficulties are likely to have a significant effect on the applicants' ability to concentrate or to remember things from day to day or week to week... He considered that...would be likely to impact to a significant extent on the cognitive mental functions..."

Consequently, Judge Bongiorno required the authorities to carry out a list of alterations which included 10 out-of-cell hours per day when the inmates were not attending court.( see Blog dated 2009) What is required to have Garth Daniels out of solitary confinement? How is it that after 365 days of treatment in a hospital albeit a forensic facility, Garth Daniels is confined to solitary confinement?

Ironically, Dr Douglas Bell is the Assistant Clinical Director (Inpatients and Prison Operations) at Thomas Embling, who has taken leave. Yet, Garth Daniels who is not a terrorist...Garth Daniels who has not committed a fact Garth Daniels who is an Australian Citizen, at this time remains in solitary confinement without any indication from the treating psychiatrist, Dr. Hemlata Ranga when this will cease. Is the physicians oath not First, do no harm?