THE government is exploring sending the state’s most problematic prisoners to super-maximum facilities interstate in a bid to solve ongoing issues at Risdon Prison.
Discussion about such a transfer system comes in the wake of an alleged assault at Risdon on Saturday.
Police allege a maximum-security inmate assaulted a correctional officer with a makeshift weapon.
The guard was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries and was at home by Sunday.
Corrections Minister Vanessa Goodwin acknowledged the difficulties the Tasmanian Prison Service has dealt with in the past six months.
In unrelated incidents, three prisoners have died, one has escaped and been recaptured, two prison guards were allegedly attacked last week and, in August, two guards were allegedly taken hostage.
Dr Goodwin said the government would work with the prison service to implement a suite of changes aimed at improving the system.
She said work was under way to appoint a Tasmanian Custodial Inspector and recruit more guards, and negotiations were progressing with other states to legislate for a prison transfer agreement.
‘‘We know that being a single prison jurisdiction that we have the worst of the worst of Tasmanian offenders in our prison system,’’ Dr Goodwin said.
‘‘It’s important to recognise that we don’t have a separate super-max facility like other jurisdictions.
‘‘At the moment, we don’t have the capacity to do that [interstate transfers], we don’t have the legislative basis to do that, and that is something that is being discussed by corrections ministers.’’
Community and Public Sector Union general secretary Tom Lynch agreed change was necessary.
‘‘If you do something like these serious assaults and you end up in the same unit with people who were egging you on and the same officers there, it heightens tension within the unit,’’ Mr Lynch said.
Prisoners Advisory Legal Service chairman Greg Barns rubbished the concept, as did Labor corrections spokeswoman Madeleine Ogilvie, who likened sending prisoners interstate to convict transportation.
Ms Ogilvie instead called for an independent review of Risdon Prison.
‘‘Let’s not just say shift people, shift people away from their lawyers, away from their family, away from the place where we’re trying to rehabilitate them,’’ she said.