Rehabilitation still not available as Archer continues spectacular prison failure

Tasmanian Labor

Attorney-General
Elise Archer has run out of excuses about why drug and alcohol rehabilitation
services are non-existent in Tasmania’s major prison on her watch.

Shadow
Corrections Minister Ella Haddad said Ms Archer should tell Tasmanians
immediately what she intends to do to restore access to rehabilitation in light
of the latest damning report of the Tasmanian Custodial Inspector.

The
Custodial Inspector’s 2020 Survey found that nearly one third of prisoners
indicated they have developed a problem with illicit drugs or prescription
medicine since they came into Risdon Prison.

“Not
only are inmates reporting they are developing drug problems, many inmates are
already facing addiction issues when they enter prison,” Ms Haddad said.

“Yet,
there is no rehabilitation on offer making it more and more difficult for
inmates to have any chance of not returning to prison after they have been
released.

“The
report also found that these services don’t exist because there is no space for
them to exist.

“That
comes back to Ms Archer’s appalling handling of the closure of the 10-bed
Apsley unit more than two years ago. This was a highly sought-after unit which
was producing good results.

“At
first Tasmanians were told this unit was being closed for evaluation – which
made no sense – and then we were told it was closed due to the need for social
distancing during the COVID pandemic, which makes even less sense.

“This
is a state-of-the-art unit with 10 separate cells and the fact is right now it
is being used as an overflow area and is housing up to 20 inmates.

“It
should be immediately reopened and used as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation
facility and if Ms Archer is not prepared to do that, she needs to tell
Tasmanians why she holds the rehabilitation of prisoners and the associated
safety of prison staff in such poor regard.

“Ms Archer has countless reports on her desk which tell her in no uncertain terms that the prison is a spectacular failure on her watch but she seems OK to run a system where prison staff and inmates are being placed at daily risk because of truly abysmal conditions and an unacceptable lack of resources.

“Her refusal to act is a true mystery as the situation continues to go from bad to worse after the past seven years of this Liberal Government.”

Ella Haddad MP

Shadow Corrections Minister

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