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Archer has lost control and has no solution to continuing Risdon debacle

The Gutwein Government’s unacceptable too-little-too-late approach to the disastrous situation at Tasmania’s major prison is doing nothing to alleviate unworkable conditions for both staff and inmates.

Shadow Corrections Minister Ella Haddad said Attorney-General Elise Archer had failed miserably to act and provide the prison with the resources it needs after seven years of inaction and despite the recent release of a damning report which revealed a pressure cooker environment where fundamental human rights are routinely denied.

“Ms Archer – like the vast majority of her Cabinet colleagues – is happy to stand outside the prison and make announcements but refuses to act on the issues right in front of her,” Ms Haddad said.

“Ms Archer has done this again today as the prison routinely enters lockdown with staff at breaking point and with no option but to walk off the job to get their voices heard.

“Ms Archer either needs to provide Tasmanians with actual detail of what she is going to do to resolve the situation or concede that she has lost control of the prison and hand responsibility to someone who is prepared to act.

“What is she doing to secure more resources, more training and more staff to provide safety to staff and inmates?

“What is she doing to provide opportunities for rehabilitation which she is clearly not delivering with inmates routinely locked down for 24 hours at a time and days on end without access to education or training programs that might be improve their chances of not becoming part of the prison’s revolving door.

“What is she doing to increase safety and prevent the danger of corrections officers being assaulted at work?

“What is she doing to listen to staff on the frontline instead of ignoring them and arrogantly dismissing their concerns?

“The recent Custodial Inspector’s report revealing fundamental denial of human rights should have rung alarm bells for Ms Archer.

“But the Attorney-General simply does not understand you cannot have a functioning justice system without a functioning prison system.

“Risdon Prison just cannot remain in this extremely precarious position but it appears nothing will change on Ms Archer’s watch.”

Ella Haddad MP  
Shadow Corrections Minister