Low staffing shortages blamed for prison riot

Low staffing shortages blamed for prison riot

Low staffing rates have been blamed for a protest at Adelaide's high-security men's prison over the weekend.

The unions and the new South Australian opposition disagree about what should be done about the staff shortage and what should be done about it.

In a protest against a lock down caused by low staff numbers, inmates at Yatala Labour Prison tore sinks off walls, ripped metal sheeting in cells and strew rubbish in corridors.

During lunchtime on Sunday, inmates were forced to remain in their cells.

Natasha Brown, assistant secretary for the Public Service Association of South Australia, said staff shortages had become a regular occurrence.

She said it was a direct result of the job-cutting program imposed by the previous state government as benchmarking. It's not an ideal situation for there to be regular lockdowns - if our prisons were staffed safely and adequately, this would not be a common occurrence, Ms Brown said.

The prisoners are going to become quite agitated. Liberal MP Tim Whetstone was a minister in the government toppled last month.

He said staff numbers were low because some corrections officers were away with COVID 19 or as close contacts.

He said the government should still recruit more workers for the state's prisons.

The opposition want the government to increase staff numbers and put a review in place so that this incident does not happen again, Mr Whetstone said.

Severe damage to these jails is something we need to do a full review so that this incident does not happen.

We will continue to see stress putting our prisoners and staff in danger, if not serious death. Correctional Services Minister Joe Szakacs has been contacted for comment.