Risdon Prison inmates "refuse" to go back into cells

Phasing out nicotine replacement patches may have triggered inmates at Risdon Prison “refusing” to go back into their cells on Wednesday.

Tasmania Prison Service director designate Ian Thomas said approximately 40 inmates were involved in the incident, which started about 12:30pm at the medium security unit.

Early indications suggest that prisoners were concerned with the phasing out of nicotine replacement patches, Mr Thomas said.

He confirmed there were no injuries to staff and one prisoner suffered minor cuts to their arm.

Acting Minister for Corrections Guy Barnett said a full investigation would be completed.

“I am advised that prisoners cited the phasing out of the nicotine replacement program as justification for their actions,” Mr Barnett said.

“I thank and commend all the Tasmania Prison Service staff for safely resolving this difficult situation.”

Earlier in the day, the Tasmania Prison Service said prison officers were “managing the situation peacefully” and there had been no violence involved or threats made by the inmates.

“A number of inmates have returned to their cells through the course of the afternoon,” they said.