Rioting prisoners break out of their cells, arm themselves, climb onto the jail roof and set it on fire
Up to 21 prisoners are facing criminal charges after a riot in which they broke out of their cells, armed themselves, climbed on to roofs and started several fires that caused serious damage.
Two prisoners suffered what were described as minor injuries in the incident which lasted five hours overnight.
The incident started at about 8.40pm on Wednesday at the Darwin Correctional Centre when 21 prisoners in low security accommodation broke free, NT Correctional Services Commissioner Scott McNairn said.
The incident started at about 8.40pm on Wednesday at the Darwin Correctional Centre when 21 prisoners in low security accommodation broke free, NT Correctional Services Commissioner Scott McNairn said
About 90 off-duty staff went to the prison to back up the 16 that were working while police, firefighters and an ambulance also attended.
The 21 men eventually agreed to come down from the roofs after negotiations and were back in their cells by 1.30am Thursday.
‘I am led to believe there were no demands, no threats or anything like that,’ Mr McNairn told reporters.
He said he thought his staff had done an exceptional job resolving the matter peacefully without any force and there was no threat to public safety.
NT Correctional Services stopped all social visits to prisoners by family and friends and ceased prisoner work party camps in the community in mid-March.
When asked if the NT prisoner population, which is majority indigenous, were experiencing higher stress because of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions and isolation, Mr McNairn said they were just as the rest of society was.
‘I think the restrictions have been put in place for the right reasons, we take the health advice, we take cabinet direction in terms of how we manage the facility to make sure there is no spread in infectious disease and we have done that very well.’
The prisoners had had that communicated to them, additional phone calls and video technology had been provided, he said.
Both a police and separate independent Corrections investigations into the incident were now taking place including into what sparked the incident.
CCTV footage would be used in the investigation, NT Police commissioner Jamie Chalker said.
Four accommodation buildings have been significantly damaged and must be repaired.
The prison will be in lockdown for at least three days, which has delayed numerous court matters that could not be held via video link .