Tax­pay­ers fork­ing out as in­mates smash TVs

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TRENTON AKERS

TAX­PAY­ERS are foot­ing the bill for a new tele­vi­sion in Queens­land pris­ons ev­ery four hours as in­mates smash them up at an alarm­ing rate.

New fig­ures ob­tained by the Townsville Bul­letin un­der Right to In­for­ma­tion re­veal 2404 TVs were re­placed in the past year, cost­ing over $ 300,000, with $ 15,000 in repair costs.

Pris­on­ers who opt to pay the $ 2- a- week fee to have a TV in their cell are lav­ished with new re­lease movies, with some cor­rec­tions fa­cil­i­ties run­ning two 24- hour movie chan­nels for them to watch.

Cor­rec­tions sources said many TV sets were de­stroyed by in­mates who smashed them against the walls, try­ing to get sharp items for self harm.

Any­one caught dam­ag­ing their TV set can be is­sued with a breach no­tice in­side the prison, how­ever sources re­vealed pris­on­ers of­ten have a new set back in their cell within days.

A spokesman for Queens­land Cor­rec­tion Ser­vices said the cost of re­plac­ing new TVs was taken out of a fund cre­ated by the $ 2- a- week rental fees, de­spite all in­mates re­ceiv­ing a weekly al­lowance of around $ 10 a week from the State Gov­ern­ment.

“Pris­on­ers in cus­tody in Queens­land may rent a tele­vi­sion at a cost of $ 2 per week. The tele­vi­sions are lo­cated in their cell,” he said.

“Tele­vi­sions are pur­chased in bulk by QCS, from the pris­oner ameni­ties fund, at a cost of ap­prox­i­mately $ 195 per unit.

“Pris­oner ac­cess to tele­vi­sion is a priv­i­lege. If a pris­oner causes de­lib­er­ate dam­age to a tele­vi­sion they may be charged with an of­fence.”

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