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Custodial Inspector Shames Liberals on Prison Overcrowding

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Tags: Prisons, Corrections, Drug Policy

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Justice spokesperson

The Custodial Inspector’s Capacity Utilisation Review 2021 is damning. It makes clear the Gutwein Government’s response to serious prison overcrowding is to cook the books to make the statistics look more favourable.

Years of statistics illustrate prison overcrowding, violence, and reoffending are all consistently increasing under this Government.

The Liberals’ ‘tough on crime’ policy agenda is making Tasmania’s prisons – and communities – less safe, not more. It’s the opposite of responsible governing.

Tasmania’s prisons are an overcrowded powder keg under Corrections Minister, Elise Archer. The Custodial Inspector’s scathing report has exposed that.

This report follows the Custodial Inspector’s last report on the impact upon prisoners of lockdowns, which found Minister Archer was regularly breaching her own Corrections Act, and contravening the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).

The Liberals have a number of things they can, and should, do to improve our justice and corrections system. One major reform would be decriminalisation of possession of drugs for personal use, which would go a long way to improving our corrections system and the safety of communities.

Given the Liberals are unlikely to adopt that sensible policy reform, they should at least restore police drug diversions. They could also extend court mandated diversion program to alcohol-related offending, and increase the program’s resourcing.