The Justice Department says it can't comment on individual employees after a senior staff member from the Tasmania Prison Service appeared to engage with a pro-Northern Regional Prison page on Facebook.
In a budget estimates hearing earlier this month, Greens corrections spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff asked Corrections Minister Elise Archer about screenshots (seen by The Examiner) appearing to show TPS acting chief superintendent Geraldine Hayes 'liking' posts supporting the prison project, as well as responding to a post regarding a presentation by Prisoners Legal Service Tasmania chairman Greg Barns.
Replying to the post on the Northern Regional Prison Site Info Page, a Geraldine Hayes said Mr Barns had "a long history of making comments that people should not be sent to prison".
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"What do we do with the person that rapes and bashes your grandmother?" she wrote. "What do we do with the person that repeatedly rapes and traumatised as young children [sic]?"
"What do we do with the people that go out and steal cars night after night and set them on fire?"
Ms Archer took Dr Woodruff's question on notice, saying she didn't have knowledge of Ms Hayes' supposed social media activity and she wasn't "in the habit of just taking a glance at things".
Mr Barns said the comments were an "outrageous misrepresentation" of his public remarks, while Westbury Region Against the Prison president Linda Poulton said it was "inappropriate" for public servants to "make statements of this nature".
Grace Rock, a Westbury resident and the administrator of the Facebook page in question, said she "can't see any conflict of interest if someone is explaining what's actually happening".
"Geraldine, she comments [on the page] from time to time," she said. "Geraldine is definitely not ... putting propaganda on the page. She ... very rarely comments."
Geraldine is definitely not ... putting propaganda on the page. She ... very rarely comments.Grace Rock, Facebook page administrator
Ms Rock said there were other members of the page who had a background in correctional services, including someone who "used to work at a prison in South Australia", and a woman who once worked in the "prison service in New South Wales".
A Justice Department spokesperson did not deny that Ms Hayes had engaged with the page but said the department could not comment on "matters pertaining to individual employees".
The $270 million Northern prison is set to be built on a 16 hectare Crown land site at Brushy Rivulet on Birralee Road, about five kilometres north of Westbury.