A recent Inspector of Correctional Services report into the fiery riot at the Alexander Maconochie Centre last year has highlighted serious failings by the Labor-Greens Government.
The incident began as a passive protest about prisoners being unable to buy tobacco earlier that day, but escalated when inmates lit at least four fires.
Shadow Minister for Corrections, Elizabeth Kikkert, said the ACT is one of the only jurisdictions in Australia to still allow smoking in prisons.
“Not only is smoking allowed, but inmates are able to freely carry lighters,” Mrs Kikkert said.
“The Inspector’s report states that ACT Corrective Services did not contemplate a scenario where major fires would be lit during a riot, despite this potential problem being raised by the Inspector two years ago.
“Neither their Code Grey Riot Procedure nor their Emergency Management Framework Major Disturbance Plan mentions what to do when dealing with fires.
“This Labor-Greens Government is already well known for wasting money. The fact that the government needs to burn through $5.7 million to repair the prison due to its own failings only reinforces this.
“Surely, in a place like Australia, the risks of fire should be obvious and at the forefront of emergency preparedness. In a volatile place like a prison, this should have been a no-brainer.
“I will attempt to explain it by tweaking a well-known phrase: ‘If you let detainees play with fire, you’re going to get burnt’… and also set fire to $5.7 million dollars’ worth of tax-payer money,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.