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Inquiry into the Risdon Prison Complex:  Terms of Reference and consultation process

Terms of Reference:

The Inquiry will investigate, examine and report on matters relating to the design, construction and operation of the Risdon Prison Complex (RPC).

This Inquiry is to make recommendations about the future operation of the prison to ensure:

  •            A secure environment to safely contain prisoners;
  •            A work environment that is safe for staff;
  •            A positive workplace culture to deliver the organisational goals;
  •            The appropriate treatment of prisoners in compliance with legal and ethical requirements.


In particular the Inquiry will:

  •            Examine and make findings on the sequence of events that gave rise to the relocation of prisoners from maximum security units within the RPC on October 1, 2010;
  •            Examine and make findings on the physical infrastructure of the prison, its design and construction, associated legal and/or contractual matters, and any remedial works required;
  •            Examine and make findings on the occupational health and safety of the prison as a workplace;
  •            Examine and make findings on the conditions for prisoners.


The Inquiry must consider the views of stakeholders including:

  •            Staff of the Tasmania Prison Service (TPS) and their Unions;
  •            Staff of the Department of Justice;
  •            Prisoners accommodated within the RPC;
  •            Staff of the Department of Health and Human Services;
  •            Any other stakeholders the Inquiry deems appropriate.



The Inquiry involved a series of site inspections and observations at the RPC, the Hobart Reception Centre and at interstate prison facilities. 

Interviews were conducted with operational and management level custodial and non-custodial staff, RPC prisoners, external stakeholders, including representatives of the Prison Reform Action Group and non-government organisations (NGOs), Official Visitors, union representatives, senior officers from Workplace Standards Tasmania, former TPS staff, and prison professionals from other Australian jurisdictions.

Advertisements were placed in the Mercury and Examiner newspapers inviting people to make written submissions, and an invitation was made for people to submit information online via the Tasmanian Department of Justice website.  Fourteen written submissions were received from stakeholders, including former prisoners, family of prisoners, former custodial staff, prison service providers, and lawyers working with prisoners. 

The Report of the Risdon Prison Complex Inquiry was delivered to Minister McKim on 30 March 2011.