26 September 2023

Roadmap on way to a better AMC

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Staff and detainees at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) and Court Transport Unit (CTU) are to receive service supports and improvements following the Territory’s acceptance of all the recommendations of a broad-based investigation into staffing-related matters.

The Blueprint for Change Oversight Committee was established by the Minister for Corrections early last year to review and provide a Blueprint for Change that addressed ACT Correction Services (ACTCS) officers’ working conditions.

In the review report A new future for custodial services: ACT Corrective Services Blueprint for Change, Chair of the Committee, Christine Nixon said findings addressed cultural and physical issues ranging from security and resourcing to leadership, accountability and respect.

Ms Nixon said the review found staff resources were inadequate; there was a poor staff culture; the service structure and lack of management skills at AMC and CTU promoted negativity; security of the environment contributed to safety concerns of staff; staff training and professional development was inadequate; and detainee tension was a contributing factor to staff stress and dissatisfaction.

She said the issues identified were complex and driven by many intersecting points.

“They are largely co-dependant and success in one area will impact the success in others,” Ms Nixon said.

“As such, the solutions are also complex, layered and will require careful sequencing to achieve the greatest effect for the efforts applied,” she said.

“Some of the proposed recommendations require considerable planning and groundwork, including related activities to be carefully rolled out in the right order and with the right process.”

Ms Nixon said the work of the Committee boosted an already dynamic change environment within ACTCS, “resulting in rapid improvement in targeted problem areas”.

The Committee made 15 recommendations aimed at improving staffing levels, training and training resources, reducing overcrowding at AMC, and promoting a culture of trust.

Minister for Corrections, Mick Gentleman accepted all of the review’s recommendations in principle and committed to working with the ACTCS Commissioner and the Justice and Community Safety Directorate to address the issues raised.

Mr Gentleman acknowledged that addressing the issues would take time and commitment, “as many of the issues raised are complex and systemic”.

The Committee’s 37-page Blueprint can be accessed at this PS News link.

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