A deliberately lit fire at Risdon Prison yesterday must serve as a wakeup call to Elise Archer.
Shadow Minister for Corrections Ella Haddad said continued inaction by the government is putting at risk the safety of correctional officers in Tasmania’s prison system.
“The Liberals’ policies have significantly increased the numbers of inmates, without a corresponding increase in correctional staff or other resourcing.
“If the government wants to talk tough on crime, they need to provide appropriate resources to the justice system and correctional officers to ensure we have a functioning prison system
“Constant overcrowding in the prison puts at risk the safety of staff and inmates.
“That results in incidents like yesterday’s fire. Prisoners were in and out of lockdown for up to four days before setting on fire a cell block in the medium security unit.
“Several inmates and staff have been treated for smoke inhalation, and it is believed some have required treatment in hospital.”
Ms Haddad said Elise Archer could not afford to ignore issues at the prison any longer.
“The prison service has been in crisis on her watch. There is constant overcrowding, correctional officers are under extreme stress, and conditions for both inmates and staff are the worst they’ve ever been.
“We call on Elise Archer to undertake a complete safety audit of the prison, including ensuring that appropriate safety equipment is available to deal with situations like this week’s fire.
“She needs to meet with staff to hear first hand the problems at the prison and listen to what staff say is needed to improve the situation.”
Shadow Minister for Corrections