Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 482 ..
to my letter in December shows an even greater indifference about the alarming state of the AMC, as the minister who is supposed to be accountable for fixing it.
After every problem, Minister Rattenbury at least says that he is disappointed, but the list of disappointments is growing, with no end in sight, and the Chief Minister just says, “No problem here.” I can only conclude that Minister Barr is in denial or does not care. Maybe there is no-one else in his team that he could trust to do it. Perhaps he should take it on himself.
But doing nothing is not acceptable. When will the Chief Minister take responsibility, show some leadership and admit that the leader of the Greens, our longest-serving Greens minister here, was never suitable as a choice for Minister for Corrections? The greatest work he has done, other than building more beds—which was indeed needed—was to try to arm the prisoners with needles to injure themselves and others.
Why can’t the Chief Minister find someone capable and passionate enough about actually running a very successful prison? There have been too many years of bashings, rampant drugs, numerous escapes and deaths, and there must not be another.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (12.01): Despite what Mrs Jones may believe, I and the staff of ACT Corrective Services are committed each and every day to ensuring that the AMC continues to strive to live up to its mandate to provide an environment that is secure and safe, where detainees are treated with respect and where they are encouraged to improve and be rehabilitated. That was the intent when the jail was first opened. That is the intent we work to every single day.
The recent Report on government services shows that the ACT continues to be the top ranking jurisdiction in regard to education and training for detainees and that the ACT is performing better than Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania in the proportion of detainees participating in employment. New prison industries introduced during my tenure as the minister are providing more options for detainee employment than ever existed before.
The report also shows an improvement in the return-to-custody rates, with 38.6 per cent of adults released from prison returning to custody within two years, down from 41 per cent in 2015-16. This is a measure that goes to the safety of our community.
ACT Corrective Services is currently undergoing a significant period of whole-of-organisation reform. Since April 2017, there have been holistic changes, including changes in leadership and structure, governance arrangements and operational practice.
Corrections is and always will be a “risky business”. We can never entirely predict or account for human behaviour. We can do things better and we can mitigate risk more proactively, but ultimately incidents will occur. The measure of our maturity and the