A riot at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) involving 28 detainees in May was supposedly caused by drunk inmates, the ACT Human Rights Commissioner said at a Women in Prison forum.
Commissioner Dr Helen Watchirs said she heard the men had been intoxicated and went wild, lighting a fire.
The riot forced guards at Canberra’s prison to use capsicum spray for the first time since the facility opened in 2008 to subdue a riot on 12 May.
The incident started when several detainees failed to comply with orders from corrections officers and began behaving aggressively, a Justice and Community Safety (JACS) spokesperson said.
At least one officer’s station was burned before the riot ended and prisoners were relocated. One accommodation unit was also damaged.
According to a prison guard from AMC, prisoners make homebrew alcohol by stockpiling their daily fruit rations, and there have been multiple occasions when prisoners have been drunk, including during this riot.
Region Media understands that several officers at the AMC were concerned about the stockpiling but had their concerns dismissed as paranoia, leading to further frustration from officers towards management at the prison.
Eight inmates started a violent brawl when drunk last October, during which an inmate’s leg was broken, according to the prison guard.
JACS did not explain how prisoners were able to access alcohol and drink to such an extent in the prison.
In a statement, the Directorate said ACT Corrective Services and the Inspector of Correctional Services are undertaking a review of the incident. The review would confirm the circumstances surrounding the incident.