FORMER ACT corrections minister Shane Rattenbury has denied knowing about allegations of drug taking and inappropriate behaviour among some corrections officers at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC).
It follows revelations exposed by “CityNews” of former and serving prison officers of out-of-hours cocaine parties, an affair with an ex-inmate, incriminating photos, senior staff in a hot tub with a junior female officer and integrity reports going ignored.
While Mr Rattenbury denies knowledge of the allegations raised by “CityNews”, he admitted they had been referred to the ACT Integrity Commission, and as such was unable to comment.
“This matter was not drawn to my attention during my time as Corrections Minister,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“I am advised that the allegations have been referred to the Integrity Commission and as such I am unable to comment any further.”
ACT Corrections Minister Mick Gentleman has not made any public statement regarding the explosive allegations, and remains tight lipped on the matter, with a spokesperson saying the the government was “unable to comment”.
In “CityNews” on May 11, Tim Rust – a former senior director of operations at Canberra’s jail – lifted the lid on a long-standing culture of drug taking among some corrections officers, and accused senior staff of turning a blind eye to it.
Following publication of the story, “CityNews” asked whether the former and current corrections ministers were previously made aware of the allegations and whether they took steps to investigate.
The ministers were also asked to confirm whether the ACT Integrity Commission was investigating the matters raised in the article.
Although the ministers wouldn’t be drawn in on the allegations raised in the article, AMC commissioner Ray Johnson circulated a statement to prison staff – in the wake of the article – warning that officers who break the law won’t be tolerated.
“Allegations of illicit drug use in any context are serious,” Mr Johnson, a former ACT chief police officer, wrote in a message to staff.
“If these allegations are accurate, such behaviour is wholly inconsistent with the role and responsibilities of being a corrections officer.
“Contrary to the implication that criminal conduct would be covered up, please know that the leadership team and I do not tolerate staff who break the law.”
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