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Rethink prison segregation, urges lawyer

By Trevor Quinn, trevor.quinn@age.co.nz

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The lawyer for a Carterton man released from prison after being beaten up says a segregation system may be needed to protect prisoners with ADHD.

The 21-year-old suffers from attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and was released after receiving beatings and having his medication stolen.

Ian Hard, lawyer for Stephen Miljkovich said it was quite common for many of his clients with ADHD to be beaten up in prison. He added he also believed a high number of undiagnosed sufferers were in prison and highly susceptible to violence. "Basically they can't shut up, they've too much to say and they get offside with the other prisoners," Mr Hard said.

"Often people with his condition don't do well in prison. There must be something else which could be done [to facilitate] them but I'm not sure what that is."

Mr Hard said if prisoners such as Miljkovich report such assaults they run the risk of ending up in far worse trouble.

On January 24 at Masterton District Court Miljkovich was bailed to his mother's address after six weeks in Rimutaka Prison.

During the hearing Judge Broadmore said he wasn't at all surprised he had experienced a tough time in prison.

"In my experience defendants on the autistic spectrum suffer greatly in prison and it came as no surprise to me he has suffered a number of beatings," the judge said.

Karen Petrie, Corrections Services' Lower North Regional Manager said that no official complaint regarding the allegations made in court had been received.

"The offender is now in the community and has the opportunity to lay a complaint via police and/or through discussions with his lawyer," she said.

Ms Petrie said the safety of staff and prisoners was paramount, but Corrections was unable to comment on the management of individual prisoners, especially with regards to any medical condition they may have.

"Custodial services and health services work together to ensure prisoners take their medication safely, and this was managed carefully in this case," she said.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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