Acacia Prison inmates riot after COVID lockdown measures deployed

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Prisoners have rioted at a privately-run jail in Western Australia which had deployed COVID quarantine measures after two detainees tested positive earlier this week.

Authorities battled to extinguish fires at the facility Sunday afternoon as prisoners wandered the complex.

Acacia Prison, about 50 kilometres east of Perth, is the first WA facility to record COVID-positive cases since the start of the pandemic.

On Tuesday a custodial officer fell ill and was diagnosed with COVID-19.

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Then on Friday two prisoners and another four staff also tested positive.

According to a statement from the Department of Justice on Saturday, management put all other prisoners in the impacted unit into quarantine.

The prison also implemented “further controls including limiting other movements around the facility”.

Aerial vision showed flames and smoke pouring out of buildings and more than a dozen detainees on the roof.

The department said Special Operations Group officers had been called to the facility.

A statement from the department said prisoners had caused damage including setting fire to items in their cells.

Items were scattered around the grounds, and one detainee could be seen passing what appeared to be bedding to another and onto the roof.

At least half a dozen fire trucks were dispatched to the prison.

The department said there was no threat to the broader community.

Incident ‘confined to one unit

A spokeswoman for the WA Department of Justice told the ABC the incident had unfolded in a different unit to the one in which prisoners had tested positive to COVID.

Prisoners are scattered around.
Inmates were roaming the unit this afternoon.(ABC News)

She said the incident was confined to one block and the other seven were in lockdown.

But she denied the prison had been in a general lockdown following detection of the positive cases.

WA shadow police minister Peter Collier had this week called on the state government to improve vaccination rates in prisons.

Figures provided to Parliament this week revealed just 11.7 per cent of prisoners had received three doses.

Just over 53 per cent per cent were double vaccinated.

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