Prisoners at Acacia Prison in Wooroloo, Western Australia have rioted against new restrictions on social visits after several inmates and staff tested positive to COVID-19 last week.
Inmates were rioting over newly introduced COVID-19 restrictions which saw limited movement around the facility as well as restricted contact with family and friends. In total five staff and two prisoners tested positive for COVID-19.
Smoke could be seen bellowing from the privately-run jail where several prisoners had set their cells on fire. Detainees could also be seen on the roof while other damage to the complex included broken windows and infrastructure.
The Department of Justice has come out and said that it took almost six hours to gain control of the situation.
“At the peak of the incident, a group of prisoners broke away and moved to the industries area of another block within the prison, lighting fires and causing further damage,” the statement said.
“It is estimated around a hundred prisoners refused to comply with directions from staff at some point during the disturbance,”
“No staff were injured and there was no threat to the broader community.”
Western Australia Prison Officers Union secretary Andy smith said that the reason why the situation got out of control was because the prison was severely understaffed.
“This situation was entirely predictable due to shocking staffing levels and poor morale and has now hit boiling point,” he said in a statement.
“Prisoners managed to get their hands on tools, set multiple fires and get within one fence away from freedom,”
“The aftermath of this riot will be that Acacia will be even more desperately short staffed today that it was yesterday when prisoners ended up on the roof and setting fires in cell,”
According to the Department of Justice, three prisoners were sent to hospital. In total, only 53 prisoners were double vaccinated.