Timeline of Risdon troubles

October 12

A TIMELINE of the most recent troubles at Risdon Prison:

• September 22 – Six correctional officers seriously injured when they are attacked by prisoners in the maximum security unit. A lock-down put in place while an investigation is conducted and expected to be lifted by September 25.

• September 23 – Corrections Minister Nick McKim announces a review into risk management processes affecting the safety of staff at Risdon Prison’s maximum security would be conducted by Workplace Standards Tasmania.

• September 25 – Deadline for lock-down arrives.

• September 27, 1.30pm – An inmate caused significant damage to his cell and then breached the confines of that cell in the maximum-security unit. During the damaging of his cell the inmate fashioned a “tool” to aid his escape from the cell. The inmate involved has a “history of violent behaviour” and since being in prison has received 18 months’ additional time on his sentence for a “variety of offences including assault, destroying property and arson”.

• September 28 – Prison officials conduct a risk assessment as to what immediate action was required. As a result Tasmanian Prison Service (TPS) implemented an “action plan” to ensure the ongoing integrity of the maximum security unit was maintained and head off any further escape attempts.

• September 29 – The same inmate damaged his cell but did not escape and he was controlled within the maximum security unit.

• September 30 – Minister advised that some inmates remained in lock down despite the conditions supposed to have been lifted five days prior. Justice Department listed the matter in the Tasmanian Industrial Commission.

• October 1 – Agreement reaching in the Industrial Commission that from October 2 all inmates were to receive at least their entitled out-of-cell time.

• October 1 – Another inmate breached his cell with the maximum security unit without the use of any implements.

• October 1, 4.43pm – A “major incident” is declared by prison chief Greg Partridge. With all of the 79 cells constructed in the same way as the one breached, a decision is made in the “interests of security and the safety of staff and inmates” to relocate all inmates to alternative accommodation. Moving the prisoners interstate, to the Hobart Reception Centre and to other communal areas of the Risdon Prison complex were considered but it was decided to recommission the old Ron Barwick maximum security units 5 and 6.

• October 1 – Prison staff begin preparing the Ron Barwick cells by sweeping and mopping the cells and restoring electricity and heating.

• October 2, 12.15am – First of the maximum security prisoners are moved to Ron Barwick Prison in groups of seven and under the supervision of 44 uniformed and 10 Tactical Response Team members in support.

• October 2, 5.45am – Evacuation completed. Mainland jurisdictions called in for back-up.

• October 2, Midday – All out of cell time restored to Ron Barwick prisoners and extra time given. Division 5 prisoners now receive 1½ hours; 2¾ hours for Division 6 inmates.

• October 2 – Victorian firm Guymer Bailey Architects, Kavan Applegate, engaged to provide a report to address the structural issues of the cells. A rough draft received on October 4 and full report received October 7.

• October 4 – Minister tours both Risdon and Ron Barwick prisons. Phones, clean clothes and showers provided to prisoners.

• October 5 – Ten Correctional officers from Queensland arrived to assist prison staff for 10 days. All prisoners are now provided with beds. All prisoners seen by psychologists.

• October 7 – All normal services including visitations reinstated to all prisoners in the Ron Barwick Prison. Psychological and Ombudsman access increased.

• October 7 – Greens’ Tim Morris and Liberal’s Vanessa Goodwin tour prison.

• October 11 – Two Victorian nurses from that state’s prison service arrive to assist with the medical needs of the evacuated prisoners. An additional nurse from Victoria due by the end of the week.

• October 14 – Ombudsman to attend the prison.

• October 15 – Ten Correctional staff will arrive from Victoria to assist prison staff.

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