The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that prisoners at Parklea Correctional Centre were given bags of food, including coconut water and crackers, after being locked in their cells longer than normal due to staff shortages.
Sources inside the privately run jail said extended lockdowns are now occurring most weekends.
MTC-Broadspectrum took control of the prison six months ago, after winning a seven-year contract, but sources inside the western Sydney jail said it remains out of control.
A coronial investigation is underway into a death in custody — an event which triggers a $500,000 penalty to the contractor.
The prison officers, who spoke to The Sunday Telegraph on the condition of anonymity, alleged there had also been up to 16 serious assaults by inmates on staff.
The incidents included an officer who had to go to hospital after being punched to the head by an inmate.
Another officer suffered a broken nose after he was punched in the head by a jail visitor who was later discovered to be on parole.
A second pack comprising crackers, muesli bars and shortbread had been created, but as a contingency plan in case of another prolonged lockdown.
Before the change of management, the prison was the subject of a state parliamentary inquiry which heard there had been seven suicides since 2016, a higher rate of inmates dying from unnatural causes and more inmate-on-inmate violence that in other State jails.
Up to 20 prisoners on remand arrive every day.
The jail had been run by GEO Group Australia since 2009, with joint venture MTC-Broadspectrum taking over on April 1.
MTC — Management and Training Corporation — has experience managing prisons and detention centres in several US states and the UK, while Broadspectrum is an asset management firm.
The prison has around 1000 inmates, making it one of the State’s largest.
Where GEO used to take in around five remand prisoners per day, the new operators are having to handle up to 20.
One prison officer said staff shortages at the jail had resulted in lockdowns occurring almost every weekend, resulting in inmates becoming more aggressive.
The State government has stationed the taxpayer-funded Special Operations Group (SOG) at the jail to supervise the facility around-the-clock.
Known as “soggies”, the elite squad of prison officers was brought in to the prison after a dangerous inmate climbed onto the roof on August 14, forcing the jail to go into lockdown.
The inmate had been in segregation for around 10 months for previously assaulting prison officers before he was transferred to Westmead hospital after self-harming.
At Westmead he assaulted nursing staff and was transferred back to Parklea.
Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said,“It has been a rocky road and is clearly a work in progress. There have been some issues, which are being worked through.”
“It is a maximum remand prison so you will always have volatility. But we do not tolerate assaults and we will continue to work with MTC on addressing these.”
“The violence we see in Parklea is because a private operator is trying to squeeze every last cent out of the contract,” he said.
Sunday Telegraph 13 Oct 2019 https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/…/22f2c87729806b340189e56…