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Prison Audit Shows System on the Brink

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Tags: Corrections, Justice

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Justice spokesperson

The Auditor-General’s report on the Tasmanian Prison Service shows a system on the brink of financial and functional collapse, and points the finger of blame at the Hodgman Government’s policies.

Rather than keeping Tasmanians safe, the Liberals’ tough on crime agenda is cruel to inmates and staff, making the community less safe and costing us a fortune.

The Auditor-General shows the Tasmanian Prison Service does not model the likely number of future inmates, and therefore has no plan to ensure there will be enough resources to “run its prisons safely and securely”.

The report also shows TPS fills its resourcing gaps by requiring staff to work overtime, ultimately resulting in poor cost efficiency and detrimental impacts on staff. This goes a long way to explain the skyrocketing stress and sick leave figures for the prison.

The Auditor-General's report makes it clear the very substantial problems are the result of the Liberal Government’s tough on crime agenda, stating –

“This has led to TPS struggling to cope with changes in Tasmanian Government (Government) policy and sentencing, which significantly increased the numbers of inmates from 2013-14 to 2017-18. In short, TPS did not have enough COs to effectively and efficiently run the prison service.”

An under-resourced prison is dangerous for inmates and staff, and results in higher recidivism - all of which have increased under the Liberals.

The Hodgman Government must abandon its political and ideological tough on crime policies, and instead focus on restorative justice, which is cheaper, effective and humane. It is the only way to make our community safer.