COPS TOO SCARED TO ENTER ‘LAWLESS’ JAIL
‘It’s just like that Stallone movie Lock Up’
A POLICE intelligence unit is refusing to conduct specialist operations at a Sydney jail because it is being operated “like the Stallone movie Lock Up”.
Concerns about corrupt guards, out-of-control inmates and poor management have emerged at Parklea Correctional Centre after a recent string of incidents, including videos made by a drugged-up inmate, a guard’s keys being stolen and the stabbing of a prison officer.
The situation has deteriorated to the point where team members are refusing to set foot inside the prison, worried about being compromised by inmates and guards, or left in unsafe areas by poorly trained staff.
The unit, whose work involves an element of risk and considerable planning, recently knocked back a request from the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad to work at the privately operated prison because of safety concerns.
A law enforcement official said: “It’s a disgrace. It’s like the Stallone movie Lock Up (pictured).”
In the most recent incident, a prison officer was stabbed with a makeshift knife on September 28. He survived when it struck his badge, deflecting onto his arm.
A video also emerged in July of an inmate boasting of having crude weapons and drugs in his cell. He also claimed guards were being paid to smuggle mobile phones to prisoners, with subsequent raids uncovering devices.
Only seven months earlier an inmate leaving Parklea allegedly stole a guard’s keys, forcing the jail to change some of its locks.
In response, Corrective Services put a governor in place to hold a four-week review. However, that seems to have instilled little confidence in the intelligence unit, which The Sunday Telegraph has agreed not to identify.
GEO Group Australia, which took over running the jail in 2009, denied any breakdown in relations with police.
“The relationship between the Parklea team and the specialist unit is first class,” spokesman pokesman Ken Davis said. “We have never heard of, or been notified of any dissatis-faction with our leads or support of their efforts. We have worked with them very closely on numerous occasions.”
Corrective Services said it had not had a formal complaint but “any issues raised would be investigated”.
Nicole Jess, from the Public Service Association, said cost cutting at the 800man prison had led to staff shortages.