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Prisons at Breaking Point Under Liberals

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Tags: Corrections, Justice, Prisons, Custodial Inspector

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Justice spokesperson 

The Custodial Inspector’s Annual Report reveals a justice system in crisis under the Hodgman Liberals. The prison population is up by 10 per cent, on the back of a 15 per cent increase the year before.

The Liberals’ ‘tough on crime’ policies are turning one-time offenders into serial criminals, and making the community significantly less safe.

The Annual Report confirms every Tasmanian prison is at breaking point from overcrowding. Minimum security prisoners are being placed in medium and maximum security, prisoners are being double and triple bunked, and staff shortages are causing excessive lock downs.

Tasmania’s only women’s prison exceeds its capacity daily, and Hobart Reception Prison is often bed-blocked because of constraints in the other centres.  

All prison services are overstretched, with inadequate access to rehabilitation programs, health services and post-release care in the community.

Infrastructure at Risdon Prison is not fit for purpose, with plumbing, electrical system and cell temperature problems, and access issues for elderly and infirm prisoners.

The situation at Launceston Reception Prison is worse, with inmates having no access to natural daylight or fresh airflow. There’s no hot running water in cells, inmate toilets or the day yard, and inadequate numbers of showers, many of which are broken.

Under the Liberals’ watch, there’s more people in prison, and crime is increasing.  Serious crimes have gone up 11 per cent, and the number of people being diverted into drug rehabilitation, away from a path of crime, has dropped 22 per cent. 

The extra cost of housing prisoners means less funds available to the underfunded health system, to provide affordable housing, and to support people to reintegrate into the community after doing their time in prison. 

This is a justice system in crisis, and it rests on the Liberals’ shoulders. Their legacy will be an increase in serious crime in the community, and a crumbling corrections system.