Overcrowding and staff safety concerns at Mobilong Prison has sparked a statewide lockdown of all SA prisons from 5pm tonight.
All South Australian prisoners will be confined to their cells, refused visitors and court dates, until union members vote to lift the order.
Public Service Association of South Australia (PSA) Assistant General Secretary Natasha Brown said the lockdown was the result of long-standing and unresolved issues around the type of prisoners being sent to Mobilong.
Mobilong is an open-space prison that is not high security and our members have concerns about high-risk prisoners being transferred there
“Mobilong is an open-space prison that is not high security and our members have been raising concerns for months about high-risk prisoners being transferred there,” she said.
“The PSA has tried to resolve the issue with Mobilong management but have been unsuccessful.”
Ms Brown said union members believed unsuitable and high-risk prisoners were being sent to Mobilong due to the bed-space crisis occurring across the entire prison system.
Over the past month, members have sent letters to the Department of Corrections with examples of prisoners who posed a safety risk to workers at Mobilong Prison.
Ms Brown said the departments response left union members concerned nothing would change.
Earlier today, the PSA held an urgent meeting with department representatives to present a proposal that would ensure all prisoners transferred to Mobilong were suitable.
However, Ms Brown said the department refused to talk.
As a result, a state-wide lockdown was ordered for all South Australian prisons, effective from tonight.
Ms Brown said the lockdown would remain across the state until union members were satisfied with a response from the department.
“This is not something that happens often and not a decision we take lightly,” she said.