Even if you are currently residing in an Australian prison, you still have legal rights, including the right to criminal compensation if a crime is committed against you. This can include ongoing medical costs (including psychological costs such as counselling or medications), compensation for a loss of happiness, compensation for pain and suffering and compensation for future loss of income.
Here are the steps to take to ensure that you will be eligible.
Report the crime
When crimes are committed in prison, it's common for the prisoner to not want to make a report about the assault for fear this may lead to reprisals. However, this is the best way to ensure that you will be eligible for compensation later. If you cannot do this out of fear for your safety, it can be sensible to send a letter to your lawyer or to a family member in order to provide some proof of the actual cause of your injury.
Keep a track of your costs
As you go through your recovery, you may incur a range of unexpected costs including costs for replacing personal clothing that was damaged in the assault (if you are in a minimum security facility where you have more control over your clothing). Equally, if your friends or family incur extra costs on your behalf such as buying you heat pads to help you relieve pain after bruising, then these costs can also be included.
Engage a lawyer
Criminal compensation for prisoners can be more complex due to the nature of being perpetrated in prison where the prison is supposed to be providing a safe environment for you to serve your time and the fact that the crime has either been perpetrated by a fellow prisoner or a staff member. Building a strong case for your criminal compensation application can be supported by a lawyer who is familiar with both the prison setting and criminal compensation.
Claims need to be submitted within 3 years of the crime. If you are still serving a sentence, the lawyer can help ensure that the forms are lodged on time. You may not get full access to the money until you leave prison, but in the interim, this money can be saved to provide you with a lump sum when you leave. You may also choose to pass on some of the payment to your family to help with costs at home.
For more information, contact a firm like Alexanders Lawyers.