FULHAM Correctional Centre went into lock down at the weekend following sweeping changes to parole rules, which had a number of affected prisoners planning to march on the prison’s central meeting space, known as the ‘Plaza’.
According to Community and Public Sector Union Victoria industrial officer Andrew Capp, the changes affected the parole of 100 prisoners.
Mr Capp said the concerned prisoners became highly agitated about the changes when they realised they no longer qualified for early release, which led staff to call for the partial lock down.
Members from the Security and Emergency Services Group, which provides support to Corrections Victoria, were called to assist in the emergency control of the prison and the transfer of a number of detainees to other prisons.
Mr Capp said the Community and Public Sector Union supported the measures taken, describing them as “appropriate”, adding that last year’s riot could have been avoided if they were implemented at that time.
“The issue is not going to go away,” Mr Capp said.
“Lock downs and partial lock downs are only a temporary solution.”
To help formulate long term measures, Mr Capp said discussions would need to continue between the union, Fulham Correctional Centre and Corrections Victoria, with discussions taking place yesterday morning.
Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan said the state government made no apology for tightening parole rules.
“It was necessary for us as a government to take appropriate steps to change the laws in relation to parole and the way in which it is dealt with,” Mr Ryan said.
“The community expected it of us and we have done it,” Mr Ryan said.
“I’m sure these matters will resolve,” Mr Ryan added, expressing faith in prison management to control the situation.
The partial lock down was lifted on Wednesday.
Fulham Correction Centre was approached for comment but had not responded at the time the Gippsland Times went to print.