Dec 1, 2011

Christmas Is: residents’ hope for more than a prison island

The isolation of the Christmas Island detention centre is the key to soaring mental health problems of staff and detainees. Crikey took the long flight to inspect the facility.

Antony Loewenstein

Journalist and author

It was a Saturday night community event and could have been in any small Australian town. A fund-raiser was being held for the Thai floods victims and proceedings began with local boys and girls playing short classical pieces on an electric piano. The room was colourful with red tablecloths and a predominantly Chinese, Thai and Malay audience, with a smattering of white Anglos.


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3 thoughts on “Christmas Is: residents’ hope for more than a prison island

  1. sparky

    Ok Antony, good article but you had to blow it with
    “six different anti-depressants”. Who would prescribe six different medications
    all for the same reason, maybe you overplayed a bit and as a result the rest of
    what you’ve written may now under a cloud. Unfortunately though the rest is probably

  2. Antony Loewenstein

    Hey there,
    For the record, I was told by many detainees, guards and others, that any number of anti-depressants are used, often even more than 6.
    This is what the system does to people inside the system.

  3. sparky

    Unfortunately it’s just you and me here Antony. I often wonder if the number of responses
    is a measurement of interest on Crikey and in the community generally. The side effects of all those medications alone would actually drive someone to kill themselves, they’d be getting something like a serotonin syndrome that could kill them
    Maybe they are a mix of antipsychotics to sedate the inmates. If you can find out who prescribes them (it is
    surely a grounds for complaint to that persons regulating body.
    Keep on caring.

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