ACT News


Video clip of Canberra prison inmates fighting to prompt inquiry

A video clip purporting to show two prison inmates brawling in a cell in the Alexander Maconochie Centre has emerged on social media.

The 34-second video shows the two prisoners in what is described as a sentence block cell in the ACT prison. The pair repeatedly exchange punches as other inmates watch on.

The footage is set to a hip-hop track playing in the background. The vision was posted on YouTube on Friday morning by user "patrick hickson" and contains only the following description: "Alexander machonicie center sentence block fight."

ACT Corrective Services is investigating the footage. It will determine whether the inmates are current occupants of the AMC, or if the footage is old.

Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury said he was "very concerned" by the footage, which appears to be recorded by a mobile phone.

"There's two issues here; one is people engaged in fighting, and the other is possession of a prohibited item [the recording device]," he said. "Both of these are matters for disciplinary action under the Corrections Management Act."


Opposition Corrections spokesman Andrew Wall said the video, if legitimate, posed serious questions of the government.

Mr Wall said Mr Rattenbury needed to explain how the incident was allowed to occur in such a controlled environment.

"If the video is legitimate, the minister needs to explain how things can get so out of control," he said. "Allowing behaviour like this to continue within the AMC is unacceptable."

There are restrictions on the use of vision showing the inside of a correctional facility in the ACT.

Mr Rattenbury said the proliferation of camera-equipped mobile phones and social media potentially undermined such restrictions. 

He said he had recently attended a corrections ministers' meeting in Brisbane, where the problem of technology was a focus. "Mobile phones is clearly one of the key issues that corrections systems around the country are facing,'' he said.

"Clearly we don't want that sort of footage coming out of the AMC, both from a security perspective, but also we don't want that kind of conduct in the AMC."