Liberals' cost cutting exercise must end

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Shadow Minister for Corrections Guy Zangari is demanding Minister David Elliott urgently stop the cost cutting exercise taking place in NSW prisons, following a coroner’s report blaming budget cuts in the South Australian prison system for a prisoner’s suicide.

“The South Australian Coroner has essentially said a prisoner’s suicide could have been avoided if cuts to the prison budget had not been so steep,” Mr Zangari said.

“Peter Severin’s response to the South Australian Coroner’s findings is concerning. This is the man now charged with cutting operational costs in NSW prisons.

“NSW is on exactly the same path as South Australia, with budget cuts standard under this Liberal Government, and it is highly disturbing.

“Yesterday we heard of four prison guards taking the law into their own hands and bashing an inmate.

“The Government can’t expect to keep cutting costs and placing our prisoners and guards in overcrowded conditions without negative consequences.

“The Department of Justice recently confirmed our prisons are over capacity in its ‘Full House’ report.

“Cells are over crowded, and prisoners get less exercise time and opportunities for rehabilitation programs due to extra lock downs – all increasing the risk of inmate unrest in the system.

“The Government is pushing our prisons system to breaking point with its cost cutting measures.

“It’s unclear what it will take for this Liberal Government to adequately fund our corrections system. Today we see exactly the type of tragic consequences this Government’s trajectory of cuts can have.

“The Minister must stop turning a blind eye and make prisons a safe environment for prisoners and guards alike.”