MEDIA RELEASE - 16 December 2011
NSW government budget cuts to Corrective Services are forcing prisons to institute prison-wide lockdowns in order to 'achieve efficiencies', aggravating tensions within correctional centres and endangering the lives of prison officers.
NSW Greens MP and Corrective Services spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
"Lockdowns should only be used when the security of guards and inmates is at risk, not because it's cheaper to run a prison when all the inmates are locked in their cells.
"Multiple-day lockdowns to save money create a number of serious problems.
"After being locked up by themselves for a number of days inmates are likely to have a large degree of pent-up aggression, which they often take out on other inmates and prison guards.
"Sydney's Long Bay jail, for example, is reportedly imposing regular lockdowns. Last month a fire started by inmates following a three-day lockdown led to eight prison guards being treated for smoke inhalation.
"Corrective Services took a hit in the O'Farrell government's first budget. This included the closure of a number of prisons, a push towards privatisation and the cutting of up to 600 prison officers' jobs.
"This kind of excessive cost-cutting puts extreme pressure on the whole correctional system, and will likely lead to further outbreaks of violence in prisons,"
"The long term answer to prison resources is law reform to reduce prisoner numbers, not cutting corners in administration," Mr Shoebridge said.
Media contact: Mark Riboldi 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376