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The United Workers Union is calling for an immediate crisis meeting to address the ongoing staffing woes at the State’s prisons which have resulted in continuous lockdowns.

Last week the Minister for Corrections, Elise Archer, was photographed at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Southern Remand Centre, a facility which will remain empty until the staffing crisis is addressed.

In the meantime, Risdon Prison Complex (RPC) maximum security had its inmates on lockdown for six days out of eight.

United Workers Union (UWU) corrections delegate, Phil Pregnell said locking prisoners down for extended periods of time made RPC unsafe for prisoners and prison staff.

“Locking people in cells for days on end adds fuel to the fire for people who have mental health and behavioural issues,” Mr Pregnell said.

“It’s like a tinder box and one spark could set it off.

“We have had meeting after meeting with the department, but we are three years into discussions and things are worse than ever.

“Tasmanian Prison Service has engaged 100 new officers; our shifts are shorter and it still getting worse. People keep getting hurt and some just leave due to the bullying.

“It just doesn’t make sense and the situation on the ground is the worst I have seen it and continuing to get worse.”

“The mismanagement has been going on for far too long and something radical needs to happen and soon before someone gets hurt. Someone has to take responsibility for this, if not the Minister, then who?”

UWU has been calling on the State Government to address the staffing crisis since Will Hodgman was Premier, three years’ ago. Read more here.


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