Mobilong Prison Dispute - Statewide Prison Lockdown Suspended

16 February 2017

Members at Mobilong this morning voted to suspend their lockdown about the assessment of prisoner suitability.

The Statewide prison lockdown has also been suspended while the matter is the subject of negotiations in the Industrial Relations Commission today. In the Commission the PSA will be tabling its proposals in relation to the assessment of prisoner suitability for the placement of prisoners at Mobilong Prison.

Mobilong Prison has undergone considerable expansion in prisoner count and a structured working day has been implemented to manage the increase in prisoners. For the structured working day to operate and be effective, particularly in an open campus style prison, the prisoners being sent to Mobilong need to be suitable and able to adapt to the open campus and participate in work programs.

Due to the bedspace crisis Mobilong has been receiving steady and increasing numbers of unsuitable prisoners. This places prisoners, the community and Correctional Officers at risk.

The PSA has attempted to resolve this through meetings with DCS, both at the local and central level and by writing to DCS on two occasions. The last written response from DCS offered no real solution and failed to acknowledge the issue. DCS has failed to deal appropriately with the issue in meetings.

Members at Mobilong subsequently voted to lockdown on Wednesday morning. Following this the PSA met with DCS management. However DCS refused to negotiate while the bans were in place at Mobilong. The meeting was eventually terminated.

DCS subsequently applied for the issue to be heard in the Industrial Commission on Wednesday afternoon. PSA Representatives subsequently determined that a Statewide prison lockdown should be implemented to demonstrate that Mobilong members were not alone and that all members across all prisons were in support.

The PSA and PSA Worksite Representatives will be attending the Industrial Relations Commission today at 1030. We will be seeking an agreed outcome in relation to the assessment for prison suitability.