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Risdon Prison

Guy Barnett, Acting Minister for Corrections

The situation at Risdon Prison yesterday was a very challenging situation, and I thank the Tasmania Prison Service staff on their effectiveness and professionalism in defusing it without any violence.

If you do the crime, you do the time, and I absolutely condemn any behaviour by prisoners that jeopardises the safe and secure operations of the prison.

The statement put out last night by Labor was an absolute disgrace, and I am appalled at the suggestion that the blame for prisoner misbehaviour lies anywhere other than with the prisoners who instigated the situation.

Prison is not meant to be a holiday, it is not Club Med and there is simply no excuse for behaviour and non-compliance which puts staff and other inmates at risk.

Labor and the unions are clearly trying to give criminals and prisoners a free pass for bad behaviour.  They would rather criminals on the streets instead of locked up in our prisons.

It’s just another example of Labor sticking up for criminals rather than the Tasmanian community, and we make no apologies for prioritising the safety of the Tasmanian community.

The Hodgman Liberal Government continues to provide additional resources to support staff at the prison to do this difficult job. We have increased staffing levels at the TPS by 47.3 FTE since coming to Government and up to 30 more Correctional Officers are currently being recruited, with applications currently being assessed.

We have also funded 81 new prison beds in recent budgets, and increased recurrent funding for the TPS by $11 million per annum as well as $7.5 million for various capital projects.

A full investigation will now be undertaken into the incident, with prisoners citing the withdrawal of Nicotine Replacement Therapy as justification for their actions.

The Program was phased out as very few prisoners have been appropriately using Nicotine Replacement Therapy, but I have asked the TPS to investigate the best way to manage this in the future.