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Corrections Minister Louise Upston has welcomed the release of the Chief Ombudsman’s report into Corrections’ care and management of prisoners at risk of self-harm.

“I have been briefed by the Corrections chief executive on the report into the use of restraints as part of the management of at risk prisoners,” Ms Upston says.

“There are lessons for Corrections in the Chief Ombudsman’s report and in the department’s own investigation into one of the cases. I am pleased that Corrections chief executive Ray Smith responded proactively by further investigating one of the cases in detail. A summary of the Chief Inspector’s report on that investigation has also been released today.

“As a result of these reports, there have been changes made to the policy and practice around the use of tie-down beds, and Corrections has begun a programme to improve the staffing and operating approach to its At Risk Units. I am also pleased that three of five recommendations arising from the Chief Inspector’s report have already been completed, with two being progressed,” Ms Upston says.

“Corrections staff perform an extremely difficult job and work with many prisoners who have complex and long-standing mental illness. The five cases highlighted in the Chief Ombudsman’s report represent some of the criminal justice and health sectors’ most challenging individuals.

“Without the intervention of Corrections staff, including the use of restraints, these prisoners may well have died. The bottom line for Corrections must always be to maintain the lives of the people in their care, while treating them with dignity.”

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