The safety of staff, prisoners and the community is a top priority for our Government and I thank our hard-working Tasmania Prison Service staff for the work they do under challenging circumstances.

Any assault of a Correctional Officer is completely unacceptable. There is no excuse for any type of assault or violent behaviour, and several incidents in recent days have been appropriately referred to Tasmania Police where they will be properly investigated.

We have significantly invested in our prison system and we are recruiting Correctional Officers at a rate never seen before, and we continue to recruit as fast as we can.

This strong commitment can be seen by the fact we have employed more than 200 extra Correctional Officers in our prison system since 2016, including 79 in 2020 alone – despite the enormous challenges of COVID-19 – with at least two new recruitments planned this year and the first of those already underway.

We also recognise the pressures that exist within any correctional facility and the challenges they present to staff and prisoners alike. While lockdowns are a necessary and unavoidable part of our prison system, prison management continues to explore a variety of other strategies to minimise their likelihood.

We will continue to provide additional resources to support staff at our prison facilities to do this difficult job, and we remain absolutely committed to addressing the challenges within the prison service.

Elise Archer, Minister for Corrections