PSA members working in prisons are hitting back at National’s claims of wasteful expenditure on slushy machines for overheated summer staff.
The accusations of waste came after the Department of Corrections revealed it bought 193 slushy ice machines for prison staff over summer.
PSA Organiser Willie Cochrane says prison staff are very disappointed by the misrepresentation of facts surrounding the ice machines.
“The provision of slushy machines over the summer was a considered health and safety decision, to help staff stay hydrated despite excessive heat within the prison wings over the summer months,”
“The idea of the slushies as confectionery or luxury treats is completely incorrect; they are a crushed ice mixture flavoured with electrolyte replacement mixtures.”
The decision to purchase the machines was informed by research findings showing ice machines as the quickest way to reduce core body temperatures.
The high number of machines required was due to staffing to prisoner ratios, says Mr Cochrane.
“A lot of prison staff are unable to leave their units or wings due to staffing requirements, so individual machines had to be installed in most units,”
“This was a one-off purchase that will be able to provide ongoing benefits for many years.”
Mr Cochrane says staff are angered by what they perceive as a tendency for politicians to use Corrections as a ‘political football’.
“With ongoing issues in prisons such as reliance on cell-sharing, increasing gang activity, and rising rates of suicide in prison, sensationalising this issue isn’t helping anyone, and is in fact taking the focus away from real concerns within the justice system.”