Custodial officers firm on demands

They want cowling installed and commissioned on internal fencing, airconditioning in all accommodation areas to end the need for portable fans and a third permanent recovery team introduced, regardless of prisoner numbers. Damage to Banksia Hill is being fixed after a January riot.

Ongoing negotiations with the Corrective Services Department had been done in good faith until recently, Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association acting branch secretary Rikki Hendon said.

‘They are pretty angry the department has set a date when some of the major issues have not been addressed,’ she said.

‘Initially members were given a commitment to have cowling on fences installed by mid-August but the department is citing a steel shortage.’

Ms Hendon said without the cowling, detainees could scale the fences within 30 seconds. The union also criticised plans to recruit prison officers from adult prisons to engage in youth custodial work ad-hoc.

A Corrective Services Department spokesman said discussions were continuing regarding recovery teams.

Additional security upgrades would not be complete until the end of August.

There were shortages of youth custodial officers, he said, mostly because many were absent because of workers’ compensation and personal leave.

‘DCS is continuing to support those on workers’ compensation leave to return to work, and has commenced a program to recruit and graduate 50 youth custodial officers,’ he said.

‘However, neither of these options are overnight fixes ‘