Budget Estimates hearings have yesterday revealed that for a two-week period inmates in NSW prisons were provided access to the Daily Telegraph through an app on their correctional centre device, where they were able to discover the criminal backgrounds of fellow inmates, leading to inmate violence and some inmates requesting to be locked in cells for their own protection. The revelation was made by Greens MP and spokesperson for justice Sue Higginson who referred to a letter from an inmate describing the chaos at Junee Correctional Centre.
Ms Higginson said “The letter I received describes a terrible situation of violent attacks of bashings and stabbing caused directly from the error of access to the Daily Telegraph news site. When I asked Commissioner of Corrective Services, Kevin Corcorcan PSN he confirmed that he was aware of the situation and the bashings and that inmates may have asked to be locked in their cells out of fear. The letter warns that in one prison unless something is done someone may get killed.
“I understand that the Daily Telegraph news source was likely provided as a well-intended initiative, but it was a massive oversight not to test the search function of the news site which has led to this awful situation. The reach of the error is wide, it was provided to some 11 000 iPad tablets across all of the NSW prisons. When I asked the Commissioner what is being done to redress the situation and keep inmates safe, it doesn’t seem that much can be done.
“The State has a duty of care to inmates which includes keeping them safe. Some inmates have apparently spent 18 days straight in their cells because they believe it is too dangerous for them to come out. Our prisons are not in good shape and there is no margin for an error of this size. Ms Higginson said.
For media contact Sue Higginson: 0428 227 363