Inmate wanted to say goodbye to mum

A PICTURE of Janeese Corowa with her two children, Robert and Emily Corowa, at Robert's 21st birthday party.
A PICTURE of Janeese Corowa with her two children, Robert and Emily Corowa, at Robert's 21st birthday party. Supplied.

ROBERT Corowa will never get back the day of his mother's funeral after he was denied permission from the state to attend her Banora Point service.

Corowa, 27, who was incarcerated in Grafton Correctional Centre last week but has since been relocated, was initially cleared to attend the memorial service last week.

However less than 24-hours prior to the event that support for day release was withdrawn.

The former Banora Point resident assaulted three guards when told he would not be able to say his final goodbye.

Corowa missed the funeral, which was held at Banora Point Uniting Church this past Friday.

His mother, Janeese Corowa, passed away at Tweed Hospital on July 7.

She was 53.

Mr Corowa's sister, Emily Corowa, now wants answers from the New South Wales Department of Corrective Services for this 'heartless' action.

“Attending a grave site is something we can all do time and time again. We can't bury our mothers over and over, we get one time only,” Ms Corowa said.

“This is the one day Robert will never get back. It has left him heartbroken.

“We thought he would be coming even if he was in handcuffs. He had to be there, it was his right as a human being.”

The funeral was originally pushed back to accommodate for Mr Corowa's anticipated attendance.

Eleventh-hour calls for help to the Grafton Correction Centre went unanswered according to the family.

“They ripped the carpet out from under him. They didn't give us any notification to appeal the decision,” Ms Corowa said.

In the week leading up to the funeral, Corowa was instrumental in planning the interment over the phone.

He was allowed unlimited phone calls to help honour his mother's final wishes and had also organised for the prison's chaplain and indigenous social worker to attend the service with him.

The 27-year-old had even received the suit he was to wear at the funeral while fellow inmates had donated $300 for a wreath of yellow roses to sit on top of the coffin.

Another family member, Emelda Davis, said the yellow roses were a symbol of Mr Corowa's love for his mother.

“Since he was about 7, Robert would go to the local shop to buy his mother a single yellow rose,” Ms Davis said.

“It was a symbol of his love and he always gave her a yellow rose.

The wreath never made it to the funeral.

“Robert didn't want those people (prison staff) anywhere near the funeral after what they did,” she said.

“This was a day Robert will never get back and the psychological effects which will compound his already tarnished life are irreversible.”

Since the assault on Thursday, Mr Corowa has been moved to Silverwater Correctional Complex in Sydney.

A spokesman for NSW Department of Corrective Services said it was for the good order of Grafton Correctional Centre.

“Mr Corowa wasn't allowed to go to the funeral for security reasons. He will be taken to the grave site at a later date,” the spokesman said.

“Even though he has been moved he will still be taken.”

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