Springhill: a view on the riots
Some actual background the prisoner riot at Springhill over the weekend. For those who have been following prisoner news, you will know that this riot is not the first angry mobilisation by prisoners fed up with the conditions inside.
The changes to the rules around prisoner's property have caused no end of
nightmarish situations for inmates especially lifers who have lost all
contact with the outside world. The new rules reduce a prisoner's property
to a change of clothes and whatever they have in their cells.
Those who do not have a place to send their stuff have the other option of
having their property destroyed. It is not until they push through the
ombudsman that the prison allows a few to have their property stored at the
Salvation Army storage.
Add to that and the smoking issue, some prisons are looking at taking away
prisoners TVs and supplying a TV that can be rented from the prison. From my
recollection of when this was to happen, that would be taking place right
One other concern is the rumour circulating, that prison workers wages are
about to be cut from around about 40 cents an hour to basically nothing.
Whether there is any factual basis to this or not I am again not sure, but
it certainly was a strong rumour in circulation when I was in Springhill.
Then there are the long lockup hours due mainly to short staffing, cuts in
screw numbers probably to compete with the new private prisons, to make
these state prisons appear to be as competitive.
But by far the biggest cause of stress in Springhill is the 2 inmates per
cell policy, in cells designed for only one prisoner, with a small air
intake window and a toilet per cell. That is the main source of most of the
violence I saw there, two prisoners in each others faces, up to 21 hours a
day in the worst wings.