Recommendations to improve the state's the prison system seem to have been ignored by the government or poorly enacted, the state's Custodial Inspector says
Custodial Inspector Richard Connock has released his latest annual report.
In it, he said a lack of government funding had prevented his office from investigating major issues within the state's prison service and that additional staff were required to undertake investigations properly.
READ MORE: Hodgetts shot down in Paralympic controversy
"Whilst the Custodial Inspectorate has fulfilled reporting obligations, there have been some severe impediments to the efficiency of operations due to resourcing constraints," Mr Connock said.
"The inadequacy of staffing is reflected by the long delays between on-site inspections and the publication of reports."
He said his recent inspection reports showed issues from previous reports still existed within the prison system.
"[This] would suggest that recommendations have either not been implemented or have had little effect," Mr Connock said.
He said progress had been made on recommendations for youth custodial services.
"In the case of adult custodial services, however, there are prolonged and persistent inadequacies in the system that have not been dealt with satisfactorily," Mr Connock said.
READ MORE: JackJumpers name NBL's first-ever chairwoman
He said issues around the use of force by prison officers, disciplinary processes, medical examinations, prisoner capacity, and Section 42 leave for prisoners continued to remain despite recommendations for change.
"Major issues raised in my inspection reports to date have, for the most part, not been addressed," Mr Connock said.
Corrections Minister Elise Archer said the government was committed to addressing issues raised by the Custodial Inspector in each of his reports.
"Work is already underway to address many of the issues he has raised," she said.
"In relation to funding concerns, I regularly meet with the Custodial Inspector and the 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget specifically responds to his requests by allocating an additional $3.25 million over four years to the Office of the Ombudsman."
Ms Archer said this additional funding would allow for further auditing of recommendations and further inspections.
In addition to existing issues, emerging issues had been identified over the past financial year, Mr Connock said.
This includes recruit training which had been raised by prison service staff.
Mr Connock in his annual report said it was revealed that training towards the end of 2020 was not compliant with the national training package.
"This situation created uncertainty for staff and brought into question the quality of training and the safety of placing the recruits on post in the prison," he said.
Community and Public Sector Union state secretary Tom Lynch said the frustrations of the Custodial Inspector were clear in his annual report.
"Year by year the situation in our prison system worsens, the Custodial Inspector makes recommendations that are accepted, but nothing actually changes," he said.
"He's frustrated the issues he raises are largely ignored and he's frustrated he doesn't have sufficient resources to do the job properly."
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.