20 November, 2012
Increasing safety and training for prison staff
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has announced that an expert advisory panel has been formed to help deliver improved safety for prison staff.
The international panel, chaired by Howard Broad, will review the Corrections Department’s new Staff Safety Action Plan and oversee its implementation in 2013.
The panel will recommend additions and any possible improvements to the Action Plan, as well as consulting with staff, interest groups and unions.
In addition, 4000 frontline prison staff are to receive Tactical Exit Training, to help them deal with potentially violent situations. And, for the first time, staff in all prisons will have access to pepper spray and are being trained to use the spray as a tactical option.
“Prison officers often deal with dangerous and unpredictable offenders and we are always looking at ways to improve safety for our staff,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The Chief Executive and I have been concerned about a recent spate of staff assaults, and we want to ensure that everything is being done to limit such incidents.
“I’m confident the expertise and overseas experience of the advisory panel will ensure that the Department’s safety policies and procedures are as robust as possible.
“We have already improved staff safety by introducing stab-resistant vests, batons and spit-hoods for those working in high-risk situations. This has taken place alongside training for staff in de-escalation techniques.
“Our Corrections staff do an incredibly tough job dealing with some of the nastiest and most volatile people in society, and we owe it to them to make their working environment as safe as it can be.”