Prison ‘burst­ing at the seams’

The Sunday Times - - News - TONY BAR­RASS

PRISON of­fi­cers have de­scribed Aca­cia Prison as a pow­der keg wait­ing to ex­plode.

The pri­vately run medium se­cu­rity jail was burst­ing at the seams and was now Aus­tralia’s big­gest, they claimed.

Of­fi­cers were walk­ing into a “dan­ger­ous and un­safe” work en­vi­ron­ment ev­ery day and the prison would “go up” if some­thing was not done to ease the ten­sion.

Jail sources have also told

The Sun­day Times that pris­on­ers are at boil­ing point over can­celled med­i­cal, den­tal and psy­chi­atric ap­point­ments due to a lack of trans­port ser­vices.

Ap­point­ments out­side of the prison can take months to or­gan­ise and con­firm.

Cor­rec­tive Ser­vice Min­is­ter Fran Lo­gan warned Serco that he ex­pected “any pri­vate op­er­a­tor of a tax­payer-funded fa­cil­ity to ad­here to their con­tract, which in­cludes the proper man­age­ment of staff”.

“I will be meet­ing with Serco soon to dis­cuss a num­ber of con­cerns with its op­er­a­tion of Aca­cia prison,” he said.

WA Prison Of­fi­cers Union sec­re­tary Andy Smith said dur­ing one shift last week just 83 of­fi­cers were guard­ing more than 1400 pris­on­ers, which was “un­be­liev­able” in light of the re­cent Gree­nough ri­ots.

The claims fol­low rev­e­la­tions in State Par­lia­ment that six fe­male Aca­cia prison of­fi­cers were in the process of be­ing “groomed” by prison in­mates.

“When prison of­fi­cers work on their own, that’s what hap­pens,” Mr Smith said. “You can’t have a prison that size with a shrink­ing num­ber of of­fi­cers and not ex­pect it to be a highly dan­ger­ous and volatile en­vi­ron­ment.”

He said he be­lieved Aca­cia was at least 20 of­fi­cers short.

Serco said its daily “tem­per­a­ture checks” in­di­cated there was “no in­di­ca­tion of un­rest”.

It said it main­tained a “dy­namic ap­proach” to prisoner man­age­ment which “al­lows us to man­age risk on a day-to­day ba­sis”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.