Lock Them Up & Look Away Mentality Must End

  • 7 January 2015

Our Corrections industry across Australia is under intense pressure as competing demands are starting to impact on life behind the walls forcing ad hoc responses by our State Governments, CPSU Federal Secretary Karen Batt said today.  "Isolated policy responses so far have resulted in a record numbers of prisoners, irresponsible overcrowding, escalating prisoner on prisoner and prisoner on Officer assaults, prisoner classification downgrades to match bed availability, stop gap solutions to bed shortages, backlogs in our Courts, and expensive announcements for more prisons but with half a decade lag time. 

State Governments and private multinational corrections companies must be held more accountable for the health and safety of both Officers and inmates now,” she said.

Ms Batt said, “all jurisdictions are confronted with a situation where prisoner numbers are growing but the prison walls have not been moved out.”  “Prison Officers across the country report an escalation of tension inside and feel frustrated at the “lock them up and look away” mentality of State Governments,” she said.

Responding to news of further assaults on Officers at Hakea Prison in Western Australia and a shocking self-mutilation by a Remand prisoner in Victoria, Karen Batt said “Governments must respond to the chaos that our many jurisdictions are now facing.”

Ms Batt said, “the situation is exacerbated by the mix of offenders behind the walls, many with acquired brain damage from drugs and alcohol and these individuals are not being able to be placed into specialised facilities.”

“All Governments hope that what goes on behind the walls stays there, or that citizens will not care.”

“The focus must go beyond the external visible aspects of law and order policies being Police numbers and sentencing and focus also on developing the type of person the prisoners will be when released.”

“When it comes to community safety, Australians will care about that,” she said.