Coroner recommends changes at Junee Correctional Centre following prisoner's death

Junee Correctional Centre will revise its policies on the administration of mental health medication following a recent inquest into prisoner Edward Haenga’s death in June 2013. 

Mr Haenga, 37, died shortly after his transfer from Junee Correctional Centre to Long Bay Correctional Centre in Matraville, five months before he was due to be released.

He had served an almost 16 year sentence. 

Mr Haenga weighed 199 kilograms at the time of his death and had been a prisoner in Junee for the last three years of his life. 

According to the coroner’s findings, he died from cardiac arrhythmia, caused by complications from his morbid obesity and his use of multiple psychotropic medications. 

Mr Haenga was taking methodone and three other anti-psychotic medications concurrently in the months leading up to his death. 

Deputy State Coroner magistrate Derek Lee described the medication regime in his findings as “not clinically optimal”.

He recommended GEO undertake a review of its Medication Administration Policy and adopt Justice Health Guidelines on Psychotropic Medications. 

“There are fundamental inconsistencies and discrepancies between the 2017 Medication guidelines established by Justice Health and the 2017 Junee Medical Policy,” the magistrate reported in his conclusions.

“These inconsistencies and discrepancies have the potential to lead to undesirable, and possibly unsafe, clinical outcomes and should, obviously, be corrected” 

GEO issued a statement on the incident last week. 

“While the Coroner did not make any adverse findings against any of the organisations involved in the Inquest, the GEO Group Australia has noted the recommendations of the Coroner and will implement the revised policies of the Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network,” the statement said. 

“GEO extends its sympathies to the family and friends of Mr Haenga.” 

GEO were unable to provide information as to when the revised policies will be implemented and if the recommended review will be undertaken. 

The state coroner’s findings were handed down on November 6.