SA Employment Tribunal Conciliation Conference - SOP 90 Management of Prisoners at Risk of Suicide or Self-harm

12 March 2019

The PSA attended a conciliation conference in the SA Employment Tribunal (SAET) in relation to the SOP 90 “Management of Prisoners at Risk of Suicide or Self-harm” dispute. The PSA was represented by PSA Worksite Representatives from the AWP, PAP, YLP and the ARC. Two Senior Industrial Officers from the PSA were also in attendance.

The SAET identified that issues in relation to the implementation of SOP 90 have not been resolved at PAP, ARC and the AWP. In an effort to progress this matter DCS proposed that, on a without prejudice basis, DCS would make provision for a dedicated officer within existing resources to perform the role of responsible officer wherever required. This would involve the closing down of other functions to free an Officer/s to conduct CCTV observations, physical observations and Log Book recording.

The PSA stated this would be difficult to achieve within existing resources at the sites. It was agreed at the SAET that DCS would provide its proposal by COB Tuesday 12 March 2019. The DCS proposal is to include how DCS intends to make provision for priority one incidents or external escorts on each shift.

Following receipt of the DCS proposal PSA Industrial Officers will visit each of the three identified prisons (PAP, ARC and AWP) to discuss the employer’s proposal with PSA Worksite Representatives. The PSA will subsequently provide our response to DCS by COB Thursday 21 March 2019.

The SAET also identified that SOP 90 has been implemented with varying levels of success within a number of prisons including PLP, CTC, MOB and YLP with some further consultation.

A copy of the SAET Statement is available here.

The PSA maintained that adequate staffing is required to implement the “Observations High” and “Observations Moderate” detailed in SOP 90. In addition to the CCTV observation frequencies Officers are required to conduct physical checks of the prisoners under observation and complete Log Book records.

SOP 90 states that the monitoring of live footage of a CCTV camera is to be done by a dedicated Correctional Officer. At the SAET the PSA maintained this means an Officer whose sole function is the dedicated watching of the CCTV monitor. The CCTV observations are not to be added to an existing job role (post).

The PSA referred to the recommendations of a State Coroner’s “Finding of Inquest” into a death in custody at G Division YLP. The State Coroner’s recommendations include the recommendation that DCS assign dedicated Officers for monitoring CCTV observations of prisoner at risk.

The dispute is currently listed for a further voluntary conference at the SAET on Monday 25 March 2019.