Defined Terms

Prison Staff Numbers Have Declined

Union warns Risdon Prison inmates threatening violence as guard shortages escalate tensions -

"Rison Prison inmates are discussing taking hostages and guards are "breaking" because of staff shortages, a union warns.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) said Risdon Prison and the Launceston Remand Centre were in full lockdown on Sunday due to shortages.

The union has also blamed the assault of a guard and a doctor at the Royal Hobart Hospital on ongoing staff shortages.

The union's Tom Lynch said an inmate escorted to the hospital for treatment was able to "turn on" a prison guard and a doctor.

He said the attack was proof staff shortages were now putting the community at risk.

"An incident occurred that resulted in both the correctional officer and a doctor being assaulted," he said.

"I'm led to believe that the inmate was not escorted by a sufficient number of officers that would have been required based on their security rating, because of the shortage of officers at Risdon."

  - The Canberra Times - 17 Oct 2017

Official visitor Judy Putt, who retired in May, said staff shortages and stretched services were causing issues inside the prison.

"The problems experienced by detainees continue to relate to complex association problems, staff shortages, overstretched services, and disruptions caused by renovations and construction," she said.

"Many of the issues and complaints related to access to goods and services, including key health and offender services."

Ms Putt said the majority of complaints raised with her concerned waiting times to see doctors, dentists and mental health staff, problems with banking, and difficulties getting cleaning supplies.

Official visitors are appointed by the ACT Attorney-General for a term of up to three years, and are responsible for investigating complaints at detention centres and other facilities.

Earlier, up to 4,000 prison officers across New South Wales had gone on strike to protest proposed job cuts.  Corrective Services NSW said the "unauthorised" industrial action was "unnecessary and inappropriate".

All jails across the state held stop-work meetings and staff at most facilities went out on strike.

A spokesperson for the NSW Chief Magistrate's and Chief Judge's Office said the impact of the strike on courts had been "significant" as custody matters had not been able to proceed today.

The majority of those matters were adjourned to new dates.

        "The industrial action has had a major detrimental impact on both trial and sentence matters listed today in the District Court," Chief Judge, Justice Derek Price, said.

General secretary of the Public Service Association Stewart Little said the walkout was in response to the NSW prison system being in "crisis".

Staff at both the Goulburn Supermax prison and Long Bay jail in Sydney walked out as each facility faces 90 job cuts.

        "We have a prison population that is fast approaching 14,000 ... it's a system that is designed and built for 11,000 inmates," Mr Little said.

        "This has come about because of a complete failure by the Government to adequately manage and plan for that system ever since the bail laws were changed back in 2014.

Prison officer numbers in England and Wales fall again as major recruitment drive fails - Howard League - 31 Aug 2016

Prison guards hurt in ‘ugly, premeditated attack’ - Hobart Tas.  18 June 2018   -  The NewDaily