Monday, 01 June, 2009
Special Prison Accommodations Required
In Australia: Cripple drug lord caged for 10 years.
A QUADRIPLEGIC whose disability was compared to the late Superman actor Christopher Reeve, has been jailed for up to 10 years for conspiring to manufacture ecstasy.
Paul Baker, 36, of Colyton in Sydney's west, is the first quadriplegic in NSW history to receive a full-time custodial sentence.
District Court Judge Robert Toner's decision last Wednesday will force jail authorities to spend thousands of dollars modifying a cell for Baker - once they find a prison that can accommodate his considerable needs.
The NSW Department of Corrective Services has admitted it is yet to find a permanent jail cell for Baker, who is morbidly obese and needs 98 hours of care per fortnight, which will be provided by an independent care agency.
He cannot eat, drink, go to the toilet or wash by himself and requires a hoist to transfer him to bed from his motorised wheelchair - which he controls with a slight movement in one hand.
The department said it would cost about $200,000 per year to look after Baker, double the cost of an average "secure" prisoner.
Some $4000 was spent on modifying a truck to convey him from court to jail last week. It will be used again when, and if, authorities decide to relocate him.
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