Timeline of Key Events in Criminal Justice and Corrections in Tasmania


Port Arthur penal settlement used for convict transportation from UK

1830 - 1877

Tasmanian Prison System begins operating


First Probation service is established in Tasmania.


Risdon Prison replaces Hobart Gaol as Tasmania’s major prison.


Major criminal justice legislative change in Tasmania


Significant criminal justice legislative change occurs when various Acts are consolidated into the Corrections Act 1997, the Sentencing Act 1997 and the Youth Justice Act 1997.

The Hobart Remand Centre opens


The Hobart Remand Centre (now Hobart Reception Prison) opens, co-located with the Tasmania Police Station Hobart HQ and the Magistrates Court of Tasmania Hobart.

Deaths in Custody Coroner's Inquest Findings Released


Findings are released of the Deaths in Custody Coroner’s Inquest into Risdon Prison and Tasmanian Forensic Mental Health Services regarding the deaths of five detainees/inmates with psychiatric issues and other complex needs.

Safe at Home Family Violence initiative starts in Tasmania


Safe at Home commences as a legal and service provision framework for dealing with family violence in Tasmania, with legislation of the The Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas.) and the new Family Violence Offender Intervention Program at Community Corrections.

'Sex offender' register established in Tasmania through Community Protection Act


The Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2005 is legislated, establishing a ‘sex offender’ register for Tasmania.

Two day prison siege in men's maximum security at Risdon Prison

05/07/2005 - 05/09/2005

There is a two day prison siege in men’s maximum security at Risdon Prison; a correctional officer is taken hostage by 20 inmates and facilities (including the reception, computers, files) are trashed. The prisoners give negotiators a list of 24 demands and complaints. The officer is released in exchange for the delivery of 15 pizzas to the rioting prisoners.

Integrated Offender Management Unit is established in Tasmania Prison Service


The Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Unit is established in Tasmania Prison Service.

The New $90million Risdon Prison Complex opens


The new $90 million prison is opened, with men’s maximum and medium security facilities called the Risdon Prison Complex (RPC). The old prison facilities are renovated and re-classified as the Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison. The co-located Mary Hutchison Women’s Prison also opens.

The Wilfred Lopes Centre for Forensic Mental Health opens


The Wilfred Lopes Centre for Forensic Mental Health opens as a new cutting edge secure mental health unit run by the Department of Health & Human Services, separate from but co-located with the newly re-furbished and extended Risdon Prison.

Case management model introduced in Tasmania Prison Service


A case management model (correctional officers adopt new therapeutic responsibilities using a case management approach, working with the IOM unit and therapeutic services) is introduced in Tasmania Prison Service.

Mental Health Diversion List starts as a pilot in the Magistrates Court, Hobart


The Mental Health Diversion List (MHDL) is set up as a pilot project in the Magistrates Court of Tasmania for offenders with a mental illness. It operates in collaboration with Forensic Mental Health Services. The MHDL operates without a unique legislative base, using tailored and creative bail conditions under existing provisions in the Bail Act 1994 (Tas). It joins the Safe at Home Initiative and the Court Mandated Diversion Initiative as the three therapeutic jurisprudential diversion initiatives in Tasmania.

Court Mandated Drug Diversion Program starts in Magistrates Court, Hobart


The Court Mandated Diversion (CMD) Program for offenders who engage in drug related offending is another therapeutic jurisprudential initiative that is established in partnership with the Magistrates Court of Tasmania and Community Corrections Tasmania. The Sentencing Act 1997 is amended in 2007 to add the new sentencing order of a drug treatment order as the legislative base for CMD.

Leadership change: new Attorney-General and Ministers


Leadership change: there is a new Attorney-General and Minister for Justice (Lara Giddings, Labor) and new Minister for Corrections (Lisa Singh, Labor) now as its own separate ministry portfolio, for the first time in Tasmania.

Independent Review of Community Corrections Tasmania released


The final report of the independent Review of Community Corrections is released by KPMG.

'Reading Together' Program for Prisoner Parents starts at Risdon Prison


Reading Together Program (like ‘Storybook Dads’) starts at Risdon Prison, where inmates record books on CD to give to their kids to read 'with them' hearing their voice while reading the books at home.

Sober Driver Program launched by Community Corrections Tasmania


Community Corrections Tasmania launches the Sober Driver Program, a 9 week community based mandated psycho-educational program for adult repeat drink driving convictions, available in multiple locations across the state

Riot in men's medium security, Risdon Prison Complex


A riot in men’s medium security sees two correctional officers seriously assaulted, two fires lit, and the stand-off is ended by the Tactical Response Group (TRG). Medium security remains in lock down for two months.

Leadership change: Director of Prisons resigns, new Minister


Leadership change: Director of Prisons Graeme Barber steps down and, under a hung parliament power-sharing arrangement resulting from the state election, there is a new Minister for Corrections (Nick McKim, Greens).

Pups in Prison initiative starts at Tasmania Prison Service


Pups in Prison initiative starts at Tasmania Prison Service, run by Assistance Dogs Australia, where inmates train assistance dogs 24hrs a day for up to 18 months for the benefit of people in the community with disabilities.

Ombudsman Tasmania releases critical report on Risdon Prison Complex


Ombudsman Tasmania releases a critical investigation report into the Risdon Prison Complex Tamar Unit and Behaviour Management Program for high risk offenders on the most serious level of security classification.

Industrial action taken by Minister to lift 2 month lock down


The Minister for Corrections and acting Director of Prisons go to the Industrial Commission to lift a two month lock down in medium.

Violent fight and hostage taken in men's maximum security, Risdon Prison Complex


A violent fight in maximum security Derwent Bravo Unit sees 6 officers seriously injured, and on the same day an inmate taken hostage by another inmate, a convicted murderer, in the maximum security Tamar Unit.

Prisoner escapes maximum security cell, uncovering design flaws


An inmate escapes his maximum security cell at the Risdon Prison Complex by tunnelling behind his toilet, highlighting a design floor in the new prison buildings, and makes it outside but does not successfully escape the perimeter fence. In the early hours of the morning, all maximum security male prisoners were re-located to the Ron Barwick minimum security prison. The rectification works at the Risdon Prison Complex take two months, meanwhile the maximum security inmates are supervised by correctional officers from Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia and the Tasmanian Tactical Response Group in the overcrowded, old minimum prison. External community services are unable to consistently hold professional visits or deliver services during this time, often locked down or locked out of the facilities.

'Breaking the Cycle' 10 Year Plan for Tasmania Corrections launched


The much awaited 10 year plan 'Breaking the Cycle: A Strategic Plan for Tasmanian Corrections 2011-2020' is launched.

Leadership changes: 2 changes in Justice Minister and Attorney-General in 5 mths


Leadership changes: two leadership changes in five months for the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General portfolios. David Bartlett (Labor) is appointed to these roles in 23 January 2011, after resigning as premier of Tasmania, only to resign from parliament and have the ministry portfolios resumed by Brian Wightman (Labor) on 13 May 2011.

Industrial action launched regarding Tactical Response Group at Risdon Prison


The Minister and the Director of Prisons go to the Industrial Commission after a bitter industrial feud over the Tactical Response Group from a permanent basis at the prison, and there are changes to procedures in the Tamar Unit (maximum). Fifty eight correctional officers are stood down without pay after refusing to undertake required duties. The officer’s union, the Community and Public Sector Union, and is furious at the industrial action. The Industrial Commission finds in favour of the government, and the officers are ordered to return to work.

Investigation launched on leaked prisoner case notes


Leaking of confidential case notes on notorious inmates in Tasmania Prison Service to 'The Mercury' newspaper is investigated by Police. Corrections Minister Nick McKim accuses correctional officers of stealing case notes and reports and illegally leaking them.

Inmate successfully sues state government in human rights case


Notorious inmate Adrian Pickett successfully sues the Tasmanian government for breaches of duty of care and human rights, after years of being held indefinitely in solitary confinement in his cell for up to 23 hours a day in the troubled maximum security Tamar Unit. Pickett has a long history of violent attacks against correctional officers and inmates. During the court proceedings, the government admits breaching its duty of care in Pickett’s case.

The Palmer Inquiry into Risdon Prison Complex is pubicly released


An edited version of The Palmer Inquiry, an independent inquiry into Risdon Prison Complex (RPC), is publicly released. Most of the 39 recommendations reflect and respond to moderate or serious issues in the current infrastructure, staffing and operating models of practice in men's medium and maximum security.

First 'Artists with Conviction' prisoner art exhibition


September - October: the Integrated Offender Management (IOM) unit at Tasmania Prison Service facilitate the first prisoner art exhibition ‘Artists with Conviction’ with much success, in conjunction the Hobart City Council and Reclink.

Eight hour prison siege in Tamar Unit, Tasmania Prison Service


An eight hour prison siege takes place in which inmates took two officers hostage in the notorious maximum security Tamar Unit. Police negotiators and special operations group officers resolved the situation.

Change Manager for Tasmania Prison Service arrives


The long awaited appointment of the new change manager, Brian Edwards, to oversee change management and reforms at Tasmania Prison Service.

Prison siege in the Huon Unit, Tasmania Prison Service


Prison siege involving eight inmates in the maximum security Huon Unit using handmade weapons, briefly taking two correctional officers hostage. The Tactical Response Group is involved in the resolution of the incident.

Leadership change: new Director of Prisons


Leadership change: Mr Barry Greenberry commences as the new Director of Prisons, replacing acting Director Greg Partridge. Shortly after arriving, Mr Greenberry instigates a major internal re-structure, renaming units, roles and teams, and re-arranging significant aspects of the Tasmania Prison Service organisational structure.

Hayes Prison Farm closes


The Hayes Prison Farm (minimum security, open) which opened in 1937 is de-commissioned and is closed, and the inmates are re-located to facilities at Risdon Prison.

Leadership change: Director of Prisons leaves after 1 year


It is revealed that Director of Prisons, Mr Barry Greenberry, has been on extended stress leave since January 2013 and has his five year contract has ended one year in, in a confidential agreement involving a substantial pay-out with the state government. Change Manager, Brian Edwards, also appointed in 2012, takes up the role and acts as Director of Prisons.