My teenage daughter died in Canada whereas I used to be in jail in Sydney | Prisons

I reside in Canada. I’m 56 years outdated. I’ve 4 youngsters and I’m a grandmother of 4. I raised my youngsters on my own. Earlier than I went to jail I used to be working as a instructor.

I went to jail for trying to smuggle 1kg of cocaine into Australia. I’d by no means finished something like this earlier than however my daughter was going to school and she or he wanted cash for her profession. So I did it, and I received caught on the airport in Sydney. That was on four September 2011. I used to be in jail for 3 years.

Whereas I used to be in jail my daughter Emilie died in a automobile accident in Canada on 22 Might 2012 whereas I used to be on remand at Dillwynia correctional centre in Sydney. She was 16.

The day my daughter died 4 officers got here into the visiting room and informed me to rise up. They didn’t inform me why. I mentioned: “What’s happening? I didn’t do something.” They simply grabbed me and introduced me to an workplace.

There was one other officer there, and she or he informed me that my daughter had died. However the way in which she informed me was actually merciless. I simply fell to the bottom. I can’t bear in mind falling however I bear in mind her telling me to rise up and cease being a bit of princess. I couldn’t rise up. I threw myself below the desk. I simply needed to get away. They pulled me and at last received me out.

They let me speak to my oldest daughter for not even two minutes on the telephone. Then they put me into the secure cell and held me there for 3 days. I didn’t eat – how may I eat once I’ve simply misplaced a baby?

I used to be transferred to the psychological well being unit in Sydney and spent a number of weeks there. It’s horrific how they deal with their psychological well being sufferers. Each time there was a change of shift I’d go into the workplace and say: “There’s a mistake. I shouldn’t be right here.” Lastly one girl listened to me.

Sylvia McCulloch (right) with her daughter Sandy at the grave of her other daughter Emilie.
Sylvia McCulloch (proper) along with her daughter Sandy on the grave of her different daughter Emilie. : Equipped

By the point they despatched me again to Dillwynia they mentioned there was no extra room, so that they needed to ship me to most safety the place I used to be locked up 24 hours. I nonetheless couldn’t work at that stage as a result of I used to be too upset about my daughter’s loss of life. After two weeks I used to be transferred to medium wants and at last low wants, the place I had been earlier than I left.

Once I received there I used to be informed all my issues had been thrown away. That they had emptied my cell and thrown every little thing out. All my letters, the photographs of my youngsters, every little thing was gone. The letters from Emilie – I’ll by no means get them again. Additionally they threw away all my garments.

Why did they do it? I didn’t do something to them. It’s true that I didn’t eat, however that was as a result of I’d simply misplaced my daughter. They didn’t know what to do with me. The system doesn’t know find out how to cope with somebody within the state of affairs I used to be in. I even contacted the ombudsman once I received again dwelling. I mentioned: “I don’t need something from you. What I would like is for the system to vary, in order that if something like that occurs once more, no person will get handled the way in which I used to be handled.”

They despatched me to see a psychiatrist whereas I used to be in jail, however she did nothing for me, simply let me sit there and cry.

I did get some assist from the Salvation Military chaplain. She got here to see me and she or he additionally thought it was awfully merciless how I used to be handled. Once I heard that my daughter had died, she was there, and she or he held me in her arms as I used to be crying and crying … I don’t bear in mind it, however she informed me. We’re nonetheless in contact to today. She contacts me each infrequently, particularly on the day my daughter died and on my daughter’s birthday. She talks to me and tries to present me energy as a result of since I got here again to Canada I’ve tried to commit suicide. It’s nonetheless exhausting to manage. It’s been eight years now since Emilie died.

It’s actually exhausting once you get out of jail and reside out of the country since you don’t undergo any rehabilitation. They simply throw you out again into society. I used to be terrified. It took me weeks to have the ability to stroll down the road.

Once I got here again to Canada I stayed with certainly one of my daughters initially as a result of I had nothing left. My youngsters had been nice; they helped me lots. I see them on daily basis.

It was tough discovering a job. I had no file however I had been out of labor for therefore lengthy, so folks checked out my CV and requested questions. Now I’ve gone again to high school. I’m taking a restaurant and lodge course. My plan is to get a job in an excellent restaurant as soon as the course is completed.

My time in jail nonetheless haunts me. I reside it on daily basis. Typically I break down as a result of the reminiscence is an excessive amount of. I’ve a psychiatrist right here and I’ve discovered that once I do break down, I’ve to let it out.

I simply want inmates had a strategy to sit down in jail and speak and specific their emotions and weren’t simply locked away. I want they had been heard. I believe the issue is that officers aren’t correctly skilled for conditions like mine – shedding a baby on the opposite facet of the world. So they only buried me. That’s what they did, they only buried me. I used to be a quiet inmate, I wasn’t a trouble-maker. I simply did my time.

• In Australia, the disaster help service Lifeline is 13 11 14 and help can also be obtainable at Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 and 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Within the UK and Eire, Samaritans will be contacted on 116 123 or e-mail or Within the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 or chat for help. You can too textual content HOME to 741741 to attach with a disaster textual content line counselor. Different worldwide helplines will be discovered at

Corrective Companies NSW was contacted concerning the criticisms made on this article however declined to remark.