Adelaide Women's Prison Opal Unit Dispute Win

10 March 2017

The PSA attended the Industrial Relations Commission SA in relation to safety and security measures at the Adelaide Women's Prison, High Security, Opal Unit.

The key issue was the requirement for security screens to prevent prisoners climbing into the officers' station. The Commissioner's Recommendations included the immediate replacement of the original perspex screens and DCS to immediately consult with PSA Representatives about anti-climbing strategies that best suit the Opal Unit.

The dispute emanated from a series of incidents that occurred in the Opal Unit culminating in prisoners lighting a fire in the Unit and a prisoner attempting to access the officers' station by climbing over the bench top separating the officers' station from the prisoners' area. As a result members at AWP requested some additional safety and security measures including screens to prevent prisoners climbing into the officers' station. DCS rejected the request for security screens. PSA members subsequently passed a motion to implement safety and security measures including locking down the Opal Unit and only allowing one prisoner per wing out at any one time. DCS subsequently referred to the Industrial Relations Commission SA.

The PSA action taken by members at AWP is a good example of organising around a Work Health and Safety issue, having a detailed chain of evidence to support our claim and members standing together to achieve a satisfactory outcome. The PSA Worksite Representatives at AWP should also be congratulated for their valuable contribution to the final outcome.