Incident at prison proves inadequacies

18 Aug 2006 archivemedia

An incident at the women’s prison on Saturday night and reports of prisoners with no place to go highlights the inadequacies of our current prison infrastructure and the need for extra funding, Shadow Minister for Corrections Michelle Lensink said today.

“My office has been advised of an incident at the women’s prison where a high security inmate was moved temporarily to a low security section because of overcrowding and was able to spend time sharpening cans into make shift weapons,” Ms Lensink said.

“Luckily these carefully sharpened weapons were confiscated in time by corrections staff before any harm could be done to other inmates or staff.

“I have been advised of another incident where a bus load of inmates were driven around for four hours while appropriate accommodation was found for them.

“Today, the Public Service Association called a meeting with corrections staff to address the overcrowding situation and discuss their concerns for safety. One suggestion was to see the opening of the city Watchhouse as a temporary solution to the overcrowding.

“This once again highlights the desperate need for prison infrastructure in this state.

“Two years ago, former Minister Terry Roberts agreed that a new women’s prison was long overdue, after sections were burnt down by prisoners in protest of their living conditions.

“Despite this transfer the Rann Government has only managed a $700,000 report into prison infrastructure which they have refused to release to the public. What are they hiding?

“While the idea of opening the watch house is a reasonable short term solution, the South Australian public deserves a long term solution to over crowding in prisons.

“Prisoners are released into the community with the understanding that they are rehabilitated. Minister Zollo needs to explain how prisoners are rehabilitated when facilities are so dilapidated and overcrowded.

“This cannot go on any further. Rann talks tough on law and order but is risking the safety of correctional staff.”