Low morale plagues prison

Low staff morale at Canberra’s maximum-security prison has led to a staffing crisis with the ACT Government relying on thousands of hours of overtime and improvised lock-ins to keep the prison secure, Shadow Corrections Minister Giulia Jones said.

Answers to questions on notice confirm that the Alexander Maconochie Centre is suffering from a toxic workplace culture, with 93 resignations in the past three years and 31 current job openings.

In 2018-19, corrections staff clocked more than 26,000 hours of overtime – almost triple the additional hours worked in 2016-17. In one of the cell blocks there were 111 rolling lock-ins across 92 days in 2018-19 due to understaffing.

“The staffing crisis at the prison comes down to years of mismanagement and low staff morale,” Mrs Jones said.

“Clearly, there is a toxic working environment at the prison which potentially puts prison staff and detainees at risk.

“The government’s reliance on overtime and rolling lock-ins has much wider implications for both staff and detainees, and it greatly inhibits the rehabilitation process.

“Prison staff work incredibly hard under very challenging conditions. The Government’s ongoing failure to support staff is indicative of their general disregard for the men and women serving on the frontline.

“After 18 years in power, this tired old Labor-Greens Government has simply lost interest in good governance,” Mrs Jones said.