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Staff problems dog Corrections

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

30 May 2006

Staff problems dog Corrections

The number of investigations into prison staff employment issues and breaches of protocol is further indication of a department in crisis, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing Corrections figures that show 16 investigations are currently under way into breaches of the law and policy by prisons staff.

Figures show there were 112 such investigations throughout 2005, compared with 92 in 2004.

"These figures are worrying, since breaches of the rules by staff will inevitably lead to more legal claims against the department by inmates," says Mr Power.

"Corrections staff are clearly under pressure due to severe overcrowding, and this is also manifested in the number of employment disputes.”

Figures released under the Official Information Act show Corrections is currently dealing with a pile of other staffing issues:

- 103 current employment issues, 75 of which relate to personal grievances, and 28 to discipline.

- The number of cases in mediation has nearly doubled between 2003-2005, with marked increases in alleged unjustified dismissal.

- 43 cases were referred to mediation last year, 10 of which led to payouts totalling $52,596, and 17 of which are ongoing.

"We know from votes of no confidence in prisons management that staff morale is pretty low right now, and this is surely further good reason for a full and wide-ranging inquiry into the Corrections Department - not some narrow half-baked review of head office.

"That review will not address the real problem afflicting the prisons system."

ENDS

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