FIGHT FOR PROTECTION

Inmates denied entry

PRISON officers at the South Coast Correctional Centre are refusing entry to new inmates as part of industrial action.

The Prison Officers Vocational Branch (POVB) of the Public Service Association of NSW voted on the statewide decision as part of its fight to secure the same workers compensation entitlements as police. 

Prison Officers Vocational Branch chairman Steve McMahon said the decision not to accept new inmates was not taken lightly.

“They proudly stand between some of the state’s most notorious criminals and the community, but should not be expected to do so without adequate protection for them and their families,” he said.

He also raised concern over a reduction in staff numbers and the shrinking ratio of officers to inmates in jails.

“In some jails, it’s not uncommon for 20 prison officers to be on duty to supervise more than 300 inmates.”

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin denied reports in some media that officers were refusing entry to new inmates because of concerns about overcrowding.

He also denied claims that prison officers were at increased risk as a result of rising inmate numbers. 

“It’s true inmate numbers have increased over the past year, numbers fluctuate all the time,” Commissioner Severin said. 

“But inmates continue to be housed safely and securely.

“There is no evidence of increased violence against officers or between inmates.”

Once prisons have reached capacity, any additional inmates will need to be held in court cells or police custody until the issue is resolved.

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