3,000 offenders racked, stacked and packed

South Australia’s prison population has swollen to over 3,000 for the first time in the State’s history and the home detention system has been gamed by prisoners according to evidence given the Budget and Finance Committee by the Department of Correctional Services.

The latest prisoner population of more than 3000 is being squashed into an official prison capacity of 2861.

This means that over 140 prisoners have been doubled and tripled up into cells creating a hostile and unsustainable environment within the prisons.

Nor is there any indication that overcrowding in the prison system will ease as the projections over the next four years show that numbers will continue to be extremely tight.

“It was also revealed that the Weatherill Government was caught unaware that prisoners on home detention were using alfoil to ‘mask’ their home detention monitoring devices,” said Shadow Minister for Correctional Services Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“With an increased reliance on home detention due to prison overcrowding it is vital to community safety that the home detention system is managed effectively.

“The fact prisoners were able to flout the rules of home detention by the simple use of a strip of alfoil raises concerns for community safety.

“Today’s evidence confirms that the Labor Government’s failed Rack’em, Pack’em and Stack’em policy continues to operate.

“Overcrowded prisons lead to heightened tensions and pose increased dangers for prison officers and prisoners alike.

“The community needs to be able to trust the Weatherill Government to manage our corrections system effectively.

“The cost of the crisis in prison capacity will continue to grow over the next few years as the Weatherill Government scrambles to sweep their past mistakes under the carpet.”