Police are investigating the bashing of a prisoner at Canberra's jail on Friday in which an inmate was alleged to have been set on by as many as 10 others and had to be treated for multiple injuries.
The Justice and Community Safety directorate has played down the incident and has provided no detail but a witness who declined to be named said the bashing was a brazen one which happened in front of the prison's CCTV cameras.
The witness also said that one man jumped on the victim's head with both feet.
ACT Corrective Services said that as the incident is "currently the subject of police investigation" and "further details cannot be provided at this time".
The department also indicated that the detainee was not admitted to hospital but received unspecified medical treatment "and returned to the AMC [Alexander Maconochie Centre] that day".
CCTV footage of the incident will be viewed by police as part of their investigation.
The already low level of transparency and reporting about prisoner-on-prisoner violence has decreased significantly since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed at the jail to avoid a potential outbreak behind bars. Interaction between prisoners at the jail and external parties has been limited to virtual meetings.
If a prisoner is bashed and injured, members of the inmate's family are not necessarily advised. Even when the victim is critically injured, as occurred in January this year, family members are not contacted.
As the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services noted in his most recent report from January 13, a prisoner was assaulted in his cell and received head and multiple lacerations which resulted in him being rushed to Canberra Hospital and placed in an induced coma.
It was the second time in two years the same prisoner has been bashed at the jail and the inspector subsequently found that record-keeping around advising next of kin of such incidents was "inadequate".
In his report, the Inspector found a "bizarre chain of events" in which the father of the injured prisoner who had been at the hospital for other reasons and was unaware his son was admitted had "happened across his son being taken to the ICU".
In the report, the mother of the detainee expressed her concern, saying: "What is going on at the AMC, as this is the second time [the prisoner] has been seriously assaulted in the AMC".
The January incident followed from another in December, in which a prisoner used a shiv to slash the face and hands of another inmate.