COVID prisons outbreak puts staff and inmates at risk

Tasmanian Labor

The Rockliff-Ferguson government has put prison staff and inmates at risk by failing to protect against the spread of COVID in Tasmania’s prisons.

Both at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and again, when Tasmania’s borders reopened, the Minister Elise Archer was adamant that the Tasmanian Prison Service (TPS) was well prepared for the possibility of COVID entering the system and had sufficient capacity to manage any outbreaks.

But the rapid spread of the virus through our prison system over the past week has demonstrated that that is clearly not the case, and lives are being needlessly put at risk.

To have more than 100 inmates across the TPS test positive and prisons plunged into lockdown is not “being prepared”, nor is it effectively managing COVID outbreaks.

And seeing large numbers of prison staff in isolation after testing positive does nothing to inspire confidence that the situation is under control, particularly in an already overcrowded and overstretched prison system.

It is not only prison staff and inmates who are affected by this but also their family members and, given how long Ms Archer has had to prepare, it is completely unacceptable that she has not done so.

Ms Archer made promises to prison staff and inmates. By failing to fulfil them, she has allowed COVID to run rampant through our prison system and put at risk staff and inmates.

Ella Haddad MP

Shadow Minister for Corrections

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