The amount of money paid out to repair damage caused by detainees at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) has gone up 13 times the previous year’s amount, new data released under freedom of information reveals.
Six incidents in the past financial year cost the ACT Government almost $600,000 in damages, while the cost of a seventh incident in May 2021 remains unknown.
This figure is 13 times greater than the total of $45,000 in damage that prisoners caused in 2019-2020 across four incidents.
Six incidents in 2018-2019 cost the ACT Government more than $150,000.
All figures exclude GST.
The reported figures may appear low compared to $5.7 million in damages that were reported for the riot at AMC on 10 November, 2020, alone.
An ACT Justice and Community Safety spokesperson told Region Media the discrepancy was because the provided figures only covered funds actually spent on repairs so far and do not include the final costs of ongoing or incomplete repairs.
This means the total damages bill is actually many times higher.
The spokesperson said the cost of prison incidents can vary from year to year “based on the number and seriousness of incidents”.
“We work hard to ensure the security and safety of detainees, and ensure corrective services officers are trained to de-escalate and prevent incidents at AMC,” said the spokesperson.
Prison guards and officers at AMC have continuously expressed frustration at their inability to deal with rambunctious prisoners due to a lack of resources and a lack of support from management when incidents arise.
One officer has previously detailed a litany of incidents to Region Media that he claimed had arisen from poor discipline and management systems, including attempted murders and grievous injuries to guards.
Little deterrence for misbehaviour is put in place, with prisoners rarely receiving adequate punishments for incidents, said one officer.
Three pallets of Xbox consoles and games that arrived at the prison just weeks after a riot left guards feeling jaded about discipline within AMC.