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BREAKING: 3000 prison guards strike to protest inmate violence

General view of the exterior of Parramatta Correctional Centre on February 18, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.
General view of the exterior of Parramatta Correctional Centre on February 18, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.

Corrections officers across New South Wales have walked off the job in a mass protest following a string of assaults inside prisons across the state.

Around 3000 guards and staff participated in an industrial action Friday due to complaints that Corrective Services NSW hasn’t done enough to address inmate violence against prison staff.

Prisons were left with a skeleton staff of senior officers today.

The industrial action came after a series of attacks on prison officers, often at the NSW Supermax prison.

An officer was left needing stitches after an altercation last weekend, while other prison officers have claimed they’ve had faeces and urine thrown at them.

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According to the Public Service Association (PSA) of NSW, a recent legal ruling has also helped fuel the violence.

The ruling was in favour of the alleged assailant, who had his sentence extension for allegedly attacking a guard overturned last week, with the judge arguing the prisoner’s current sentence and restricted prison privileges was punishment enough.

“[This] has set a very dangerous precedent in regards to inmate management plans and regression in these plans,” an PSA spokesperson said on Thursday.

“[Corrections officers] are sick of being punching bags for inmates and the soft stance taken by magistrates, judges and politicians who already have the power and authority to take a hard line on assaulting Correctional Staff.”

Corrective Service NSW (CSNSW) staff member told AAP today that all inmates are secure in their cells.

“Public security has not been compromised,” the spokesperson said.

“CSNSW considers any assault on staff as unacceptable and supports prosecutions of inmates who engage in this behaviour.

“CSNSW is seeking the assistance of the Industrial Relations Commission to resolve the immediate issues and will be working with staff and their representatives to put in place measures to ensure the ongoing safety of staff.”

– With AAP.

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