Mum fears son’s suicide over prison’s alleged lack of care
SITTING at the funeral of a young man lost to suicide, Cherie Thompson feared she would be next in line to grieve a child.
Ms Thompson’s adult son, Shaun ‘Sonny’ Greer, is an inmate at Wacol’s Brisbane Correctional Centre.
She claimed he has been denied basic medical care despite suffering from crippling anxiety, depression and physical pain due to multiple slipped discs in his back.
Multiple requests for support – submitted by herself, Mr Greer and his partner Marlina Sendon – have allegedly fallen on deaf ears.
“He hasn’t gotten anywhere at all; they just keep telling him to put the paperwork in, in this blue envelope. He’s done that several times,” Ms Thompson said.
“Every day he rings up me or his girlfriend and begs us to speak to the administrator or somebody in charge about him seeing someone for his mental health.”
She said duty of care by the correctional facility was not being handled appropriately.
Mr Greer was reportedly told he could face a three to four month wait before he was treated.
He has been incarcerated since November 19 last year.
“This has been going on every day since he’s been there. Every week I get told [by authorities] we need to send letters and emails which we have done,” Ms Thompson said.
“I understand that if you do the crime you do the time, I’m 100 per cent behind that but they still have a duty of care and they still need their health to be dealt with.”
Ms Thompson said Mr Greer experienced many sleepless due to sciatic nerve pain – and the alleged inadequate treatment.
He was reportedly visited by a member of the medical team on Wednesday.
Ms Thompson said she had been told fellow inmate Michael Elliot was allegedly denied treatment for fibrosis of the lungs.
She claimed officers said the man suffered an anxiety attack, offering him a cup of water in response.
She said he was admitted to Princess Alexandra Hospital several days later after his condition worsened.
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Sadly, Ms Thompson fears her son could take his own life due to what she claims is a lack of care.
“I’m constantly worried that my son’s pain is going to get too much, or his anxiety will get too much because he’s not thinking straight because he’s not being seen too,” she said.
“You wait so long for your loved one to acknowledge that they have a problem and need help, and when they do, the help’s just not there.”
Her close friend, Tania Poulton, tragically lost her 23-year-old son Jack to suicide last December. He was not a prisoner.
“All I could think was that’s going to be us up there next, I’m going to be the mother who just lost a son,” she said.
“I sit looking at the wall of photos in my living room and I think about which one is going to sit on his coffin at his funeral.
“It’s not a matter of, it’s become a matter of when.”
In response to specific questions from the Queensland Times, a Queensland Corrections Service spokesman said prisoners in state facilities had access to a range of health care, including mental health care.
He said this was available both from on-site counsellors and through Prisoner Mental Health.
“The health of prisoners is the responsibility of Queensland Health, and we work closely with them to ensure prisoners receive appropriate care,” he said.
“Prisoners who feel they have not received appropriate care are able to contact the Health Ombudsman with their concerns.”