Reinforcements called in to help Tasmanian prison guards

October 5

Prison guards from Queensland and Victoria have been recruited to help ease pressures at Tasmania’s Risdon Prison after a security scare.

Guards at Tasmania’s maximum security prison have been under stress since a riot nearly two weeks ago that injured six of their colleagues.

Then on the weekend most of the unit’s 69 inmates had to be moved to the old jail, after it was revealed their cells in the new section could be breached.

Tasmania’s Corrections Minister, Nick McKim says many prison guards have worked a lot of overtime in the past three days and some are on stress leave.

He says 10 officers from Queensland are being flown in to help.

“The current circumstances have placed extra stress on prison workers quite understandably and it’s also logistically need more people on the ground,” he said.

Queensland officers will be relieved by another 10 from Victoria.

TVs not heaters

The maximum security inmates have been promised individual televisions in their cells.

The conditions in the temporary cells have been dubbed substandard by prisoner advocates and portable heaters were given to inmates yesterday because of a lack of heating.

Mr McKim says prisoners have indicated, given a choice, they would rather have televisions than heaters.

“There is a little situation that the electrical circulatory more broadly in that prison isn’t able to cope with the load of televisions and fan heaters so electricians are currently on site upgrading some electrical work,” he said.

“But of course we need to very sure that what we’re doing is done safely so safety will be our first priority there.”

The State Government is expecting the final report later today from an interstate correctional architect who inspected the prison over the weekend.

It is likely to detail the estimated cost of repairing the problems in the new section.

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