DCS announces $84m in budget savings

18 February 2019

At the Public Service Association (PSA)/Department for Correctional Services (DCS) Custodial Central Consultative Committee meeting held on 14 February 2019 DCS announced future Budget savings of $84m. This was the first time this figure has been put to members.

This is in stark contrast to the $50m in savings announced by Government in the September 2018 Budget.

DCS has not provided any information as to where this additional $30m+ in savings is to be found, let alone the full $84m in savings.

The PSA has written to DCS requesting an urgent meeting with the DCS Chief Executive for an explanation as to where DCS believes the savings will be found. The PSA further requested that any explanation should include information on how the Department expects to maintain appropriate levels of safety for staff, prisoners, and the South Australian community with the indiscriminate slashing of the Correctional Services budget.

With the DCS Chief Executive accepting this high level of cuts to the Correctional Services’ budget, the safety of the South Australian community is in his hands. Any cuts to staffing levels, the majority currently in place as a result of proper consultation and at times orders from Industrial Commissioners, will have a detrimental effect on the safety of the community.

The desire to run the state’s correctional services like a private operator with only profit in mind will lead to poor outcomes for anyone who comes in contact with the system, and put the safety of members and the community at risk.

Privately run prisons are characterised by excessive violence against prisoners and staff, increased prisoner self harm, excessive drug use, increased recividism, reduced accountability, increased risks to prison officers - and of course ongoing higher costs.

The PSA has requested a response from DCS by close of business Tuesday 19 February 2019 with a proposed date/time for the PSA to meet with the DCS Chief Executive.