Emergency service vehicles arrive at the Darwin Correctional Facility after prisoners were reported on the roof after a mass breakout. Picture: Che Chorley
Emergency service vehicles arrive at the Darwin Correctional Facility after prisoners were reported on the roof after a mass breakout. Picture: Che Chorley

Prison riot damage bill estimated to total at least $40m

THE damage bill from the riot at the Darwin Correctional Facility a fortnight ago is expected to be at least $40 million, the NT News understands.

Several sources have confirmed the price tag for the damages inflicted to the four buildings during the riot, which lasted hours.

The NT News understands one of the buildings, which is 75m long and burnt on one end, will probably have to be completely stripped back and refurbished due to water sprinkler and smoke damage destroying electrical work.

A Department of the Attorney-General and Justice spokeswoman, however, could not give a ballpark figure on the cost of the damages.

"Northern Territory Correctional Services is still assessing the full extent and potential cost of the damage," she said.

The chapel, sacred sorry business building, security offices and control rooms were among the facilities damaged on the night.

 

Emergency service vehicles arrive at the Darwin Correctional Facility after prisoners were reported on the roof after a mass breakout. Picture: Che Chorley
Emergency service vehicles arrive at the Darwin Correctional Facility after prisoners were reported on the roof after a mass breakout. Picture: Che Chorley

The spokeswoman said provisions had been made to allow programs undertaken at the buildings to happen elsewhere.

"Correctional Services have made temporary arrangements to maintain programs and services," she said.

The riot involved 21 inmates, some of whom were medium-security prisoners housed in the low-security section.

A prison source said the classification model corrections officers were forced to use was based on cost-cutting - not the behaviour of the inmate.

"We want to assist with the rehab and (help) prisoners to be valuable members of society," the source said.

"We want them to be classified because they are doing the right thing, not because of the cost."

Emergency service vehicles arrive at the Darwin Correctional Facility after prisoners were reported on the roof after a mass breakout. Picture: Che Chorley
Emergency service vehicles arrive at the Darwin Correctional Facility after prisoners were reported on the roof after a mass breakout. Picture: Che Chorley

The source said there were fears a similar riot could occur again.

They said concerns over safety and the layout of the prison had been raised with the executive, with a risk assessment being taken out at the end of last year.

"If they had implemented the recommendations from the risk assessment in 2019 the riot would have been preventable," they said.

"Only now has the funding been approved.

"It was not proactive, it was reactive."

Independent member for Nelson Gerry Wood said he would like to see an inquiry into what happened on May 13.

Attorney-General Natasha Fyles previously said Corrections would be conducting an independent investigation of the incident, which occurred on the night of May 13.

Originally published as Prison riot damage bill estimated to total at least $40m


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