Defined Terms

Overcrowding Exacerbates Prisoner Violence And Assaulting Prison Staff Evidencing Prison Lockdowns

Below is an extract from Risdon Prison - Overcrowding Causing Unrest - Tasmanian Greens - 10 August 2017

           The pressure cooker environment in Risdon Prison tells us everything about your Government's failure to manage it safely and in the public interest. There has been rioting at the prison, and yesterday's footage showed tear gas and special operations police; a dangerous environment. You said it is about nicotine patches, but really that was just the match that lit the powder keg. This is really about massive overcrowding. Cells designed for one are housing two to three prisoners, and that is causing the lockdowns. You refused to listen to prison staff who have been warning about this dangerous situation for a long time.


Below is an extract from Risdon Prison riot leaves guards hospitalised, jail in lockdown - ABC News - 18 June 2018


           Prison Legal Service chairman Greg Barns said the prison is a tinderbox and it will only get worse with continued overcrowding.


Below is an extract from Inside Australia's 'powder keg' private prison -  ABC News - 20 June 2018

           Secret reports and insider accounts from prison officers and former inmates reveal Brisbane's Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre is overcrowded, increasingly violent and unsafe ó even for the staff.

Three recent prison riots:

1.        Risdon Prison, Hobart, riot leaves guards hospitalised, jail in lockdown - ABC News - 18 June 2018

2.        Investigation reveals shocking level of violence in Queensland jail - Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre - ABC News - 20 June 2018

3.        12 inmates escaped from Greenough Regional Prison - PerthNow - 24 July 2018


Below is an extract from Australian adult prisoner numbers continue to rise - ABS:

  • The number of prisoners in adult corrective services custody increased by 6% from 38,845 prisoners at 30 June 2016 to 41,202 at 30 June 2017.

  • Between 2016 and 2017 the national imprisonment rate increased by 4% from 208 to 216 prisoners per 100,000 adult population.

Below are two extracts from Prisons at breaking point, but Australia is still addicted to incarceration:

"For Eileen Baldry, a leading criminologist and University of New South Wales deputy vice-chancellor, itís a hard-headed approach, one that sucks up billions of dollars that could otherwise go towards addressing the root causes of criminality through early intervention, diversion, prevention or rehabilitation programs.

Baldry says prison overcrowding is a product of failed political leadership, and shows governments are unable to withstand the populist compulsion to incarcerate and appear tough on crime.

"Former NSW director of public prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdrey, is one of those championing justice reinvestment. He is lobbying the NSW government to invest in the program in the 2018-19 budget.

He agrees the overcrowding problem is a failure of political leadership, and an inability to see past short-term electoral cycles.


Assaults against prison staff.


Prison guards strike Corrective Services NSW fails to deal with spate of inmate violence  -  MARCH 8, 2019


Man nicknamed 'Hand of Death' jailed after slashing prison guard with razor - SMH - 22 July 2020





Below is an extract from 'Conclusion: A system in crisis' of Crisis in Correctional Services:  Overcrowding and inmates with mental health problems in provincial correctional facilities - April 2015

"This overview of Canadaís correctional system leaves us with a disturbing picture. We have focused primarily on provincial correctional facilities, but indications are that the situation is just as bad in territorial centres.

Without a doubt, the majority of provincial correctional facilities in this country are either at capacity or overcrowded. We have seen reports of institutions operating at nearly 200 per cent capacity, twice as many inmates as the facility was built to hold.

However, as we have also seen, figures can be deceiving, and may seriously underestimate the situation. The stated capacity of some institutions has been altered to reflect the normalization of double-bunking, and renovations made to older facilities may have created more room, but not necessarily adequate facilities. The new capacity figures may also reflect the fact that cell sizes are smaller and common areas have been reduced.

With overcrowding there appears to be an increase in violence and serious incidents, from inmate-on-inmate violence to incidences between inmates and correctional officers. While most of the reports we have cited are careful not to proclaim a direct causal relationship between overcrowding and violence, they all see the two as having some connection."