Police have confirmed a 23-year-old man died in Port Lincoln Prison on Tuesday, June 4.

The prisoner was found unresponsive in his cell around 10pm last Tuesday and staff rendered CPR, according to a Department of Corrections spokesperson.

SA Ambulance Service members arrived shortly afterwards and commenced CPR but the man could not be revived.

Local community members have told the ABC the person who died is Indigenous and not from the local area. 

Port Lincoln Aboriginal elder and advocate Harry Miller senior said the community was still in shock. 

“As an elder, as a father, as a grandfather, the loss of life is unbearable,” Mr Miller said.

“This young man came from another state, he came with the intent and the belief of his family and his community that he was in a safe place.

Port Lincoln Aboriginal elder and advocate Harry Miller senior says the community is in shock.(ABC Eyre Peninsula: Emma Pedler)

“As long-term elders and community people we still think, is Port Lincoln a safe place for our kids? Do we have the right type of services here? 

“Do we have the right type of people who are advocating to develop and construct pillars that will ensure our children are safe and that they have opportunities?”

Mr Miller said he was frustrated the death was only receiving attention a week after the incident.

“I personally have a fear that because it’s taken so long for it to receive any outside attention, it will be similar to cases before where government agencies have just allowed it to be swept under the carpet without any appropriate action,” he said.

An internal investigation by the Office for Correctional Services Review has commenced and a SAPOL investigation is underway. All deaths in custody are subject to a coronial investigation.

Between 2021–22 and 2022–23, there was an increase of four deaths in custody in South Australia, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology.

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