5 Sept – Prisoners at the state’s most secure jail have gone out on strike to demand more pay.
Some inmates at maximum security Barwon Prison want a better deal and have been refusing to work since last week.
Management at the jail, near Geelong, on Monday took action of their own, confining those refusing to work under new arrangements to their cells.
Journalists have been told the situation had been, at times, tense and that those prisoners locked down were being allowed out of their cells on a rotation basis.
Specialist officers from the security and emergency services group were on standby in case of trouble at the jail, which houses killers, armed robbers, terrorists and gangland figures.
Prisoners in Victoria are paid between $6.50 and $8.95 per day.
It is unclear who are the ringleaders of the Barwon industrial action.
Among the high-profile inmates are drug bosses Tony Mokbel, Frank Madafferi and Pasquale Barbaro and Matthew Johnson, the man who murdered underworld kingpin Carl Williams.
Opposition Corrections spokesman Edward O’Donohue said the strike raises questions about who was in control of our corrections system.
The Opposition’s corrections spokesman Edward O’Donohue said it was “unacceptable” that maximum security prisoners would “feel emboldened” to strike.
“The community expects prisoners to be focused on rehabilitation and paying their debt to the community, not to be taking strike action over pay rates in prison.”
“Under Daniel Andrews we’ve seen the worst prison riots in Victoria’s history, prisoners growing drugs in the prison gardens, increased escapes, increased deaths in custody and now prisoners going on strike,”.
“You have to question who is in control and who is running the Victorian corrections system.” said O’Donohue.