Saturday, 11 October 2008

SA prison stand-off inmates relocated

They have access to the oval only once a fortnight and that's the particular exercise that was cancelled for operational reasons.

Inmates involved in the stand-off that ended yesterday at Port Augusta prison have been transported to Adelaide.

Most of them are now at Yatala prison, while about five who are believed to have instigated the uprising, are in police custody at the Adelaide Remand Centre.

Police are treating the Bluebush unit of Port Augusta prison as a crime scene.

Correctional Services minister Carmel Zollo says it is too early to estimate what damage was done to the unit.

"We'll have to go and assess that. I don't have a monetary value on that at all, but clearly all that will have to be fixed up before any prisoners can be returned to that unit," she said.

Ms Zollo says a cancelled exercise session seems to have been the catalyst for inmates to revolt on Thursday.

She says the session was cancelled because not enough guards were available for supervision, but strongly denied claims the prisoners are only able to exercise once a fortnight.

"It's not true that they get one exercise period a fortnight. The Bluebush prisoners have access to the secure yard outside every day and sometimes, I understand, even twice a day," she said.

"But they have access to the oval only once a fortnight and that's the particular exercise that was cancelled for operational reasons."

Meanwhile, the Public Service Association says a work ban imposed by members on the jail could extend to other facilities unless the Government improves conditions.

PSA members yesterday voted not to return to work at the facility unless the prisoners involved in the standoff were removed and the damage repaired.

Repairs cannot begin on the unit prisoners seized until police have finished their investigation of the scene.

PSA general secretary Jan McMahon says problems in the prison system are not confined to Port Augusta and members are concerned about their safety.

"There were three overflow prisoners. That means the prison at Port Augusta, according to our members, was full yesterday," he said.

"As we speak at Mobilong Prison there are currently 15 mattresses on the floor because the prison at Mobilong is full. So there is a severe overcrowding in South Australian prisons."

But yesterday acting Premier Kevin Foley was adamant the prison is not at capacity.

"Prisons are not designed for absolute comfort and the doubling up of prisoners - that is two per cell - is both a common practice and an appropriate practice," he said.

Quote: Doubling up of prisoners may be common practice due to overcrowding, and creature comfort and or human needs, by request, yes. However, if they didn’t volunteer to smell someone else's shit then it's not appropriate to the prisoner. But I guess that Kevin Foley's shit doesn't stink? And how about letting them prisoners out for a run on the oval more than once a fortnight? Or in this case more than zip, no oval at all? Most of the above prisoners will be placed in 'solitary confinement' for a few weeks after this and that should fix the problem? For now!


Rioting reported at Pt Augusta prison
"After all it's not just Port Augusta that's overcrowded, every prison in our system has been racked, stacked and packed by this Government."

Indigenous incarceration under scrutiny
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up almost 25 per cent of Australia's prison population, on the most recent figures. This is nearly double the rate identified as a concern by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody more than two decades ago.

We owe prisoners more than jail
Prisons are too important to be left to jailers, for the simple reason that the standard prison magnifies social problems. It is a congregation of people with an accumu–lation of risk factors for crime.

No comments: