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Corrections and Rehabilitation – Covid

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 5 June 2023

Tags: COVID-19, Corrections, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, I have some questions about COVID-19 in prison. Can you please tell me what procedures you have in place? Is testing freely available for inmates? Is there a vaccination program in place? Are masks freely available? Also, since the pandemic began, how many cases of COVID-19 we've had in the prison?

Ms ARCHER - It is operational.

Ms WEBSTER - Dr Woodruff, throughout the TPS COVID Response we had 2561 inmates tested for COVID-19, either upon reception or when presenting with symptoms to staff. We had 356 positive tests recorded. Of those 356, 150 were in April 2022 when an outbreak occurred in Ron Barwick. Thirty-two were identified as being positive when tested once they entered custody and the remaining 169 were through minor outbreaks within Risdon Prison Complex and Mary Hutchinson Women's Prison. There were no recorded hospitalisations or adverse outcomes for inmates that we're aware of, managed within a prison facility. The TPS and Correctional Primary Health Service ran regular vaccination clinics for inmates, with over 75 per cent of the population being vaccinated; and all staff were required to be vaccinated against COVID 19.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. I noticed you used the past tense; does that mean that you're not undertaking a vaccination program, you're not testing or providing testing and there's no masks available for inmates?

Ms ARCHER - I think we might get Mr Thomas to address that.

Mr THOMAS - Thank you. Masks are readily available. We do test -

Dr WOODRUFF - For free? Sorry.

Mr THOMAS - Yes. We test when people either self report or symptoms are identified in conjunction with Correctional Primary Health. Similarly, vaccinations are available but we're not running a vaccination program such as we were in 2020.

Dr WOODRUFF - How would an inmate get a vaccination?

Mr THOMAS - Through Correctional Primary Health, if they indicate that they wish to be vaccinated - much like the flu vaccination, which provide to prisoners. We can do a similar process for the COVID vaccination.

Dr WOODRUFF - Okay. Thank you. Do you keep annual figures on COVID cases or do you keep regular figures on COVID cases?

Mr THOMAS - Yes, we still keep figures on COVID cases. They fluctuate, given we're not responding as we were in 2020. Correctional Primary Health will have those figures, which we can access from them.

Dr WOODRUFF - Okay. Thank you. Could I put that on notice, minister, for the COVID cases since the secretary might have been finishing that information in that first year of the pandemic?


Ms ARCHER - Do you mean since the figures that we've provided you??

Dr WOODRUFF - I wondered when they finished, yes, that's all. Was it 2561 tested, 356 positive to date? Is that to today, or to when?

Ms ARCHER - It wouldn't be to today, no. It would be to a certain date. How about we get a figure of what that takes us to, and then anything since.