For newly installed Corrections Minister Mick Gentleman, the dramatic events which unfolded inside Canberra's prison on Tuesday offered a stark reminder that taking on this portfolio is going to give him some sleepless nights in the months and years ahead.
No-one was injured in Tuesday night's fracas and no charges have yet been laid but the full extent of what unfolded during those three-and-a-half hours is going to make for some discomfort - again - for the government as the independent prisons inspector builds and tables his incident report to the Assembly.
At first blush, winning the job of running Canberra's prison system must have appeared a doddle for Commissioner Jon Peach, who ran UK and then WA prisons before coming to Canberra.
For the most part, Canberra's inmates are simply bored senseless.
He dealt with genuine prison riots during his time in the UK; the nasty, stomach-churning kind involving teargas and full-scale battles between inmates and baton-wielding tactical teams.
So from his perspective, 27 inmates at Canberra's jail refusing to enter their cells for the nightly lockdown, then arming themselves with mops and broom handles, throwing veggies at firies and setting fire to mattresses must seem a very tame disturbance indeed. However, he has inherited a messy situation, as has his new Minister.
As Australia's first and only so-called human rights compliant prison, the Alexander Maconochie Centre operates with a over-riding, although somewhat shades-of-grey series of caveats around how prisoners should be treated inside and then delivered back into society. What it means is that an extra layer of scrutiny applies to the jail, and expectations on outcomes are higher here than elsewhere.
But the AMC doesn't meet such lofty ambitions. Numerous reports handed down through the years have detailed the many issues experienced at our prison.
As it quickly and predictably filled up, the initial plan to separate those on remand from those sentenced became completely unworkable.
Now we have a one-size-fits-all maximum security prison with men and women in far too close proximity, and where convicted murderers and violent bikies are mixed with repeat petty thieves, drug traffickers and white collar criminals awaiting trial. It's a volatile, difficult-to-manage mix.
Providing genuine recreational activity and work helps. The old adage that "idle hands are the devil's work" sounds trite, but the experience of prison systems all over the world is that giving inmates meaningful work and access to training and skills that will give them a bit of extra cash and rehabilitation opportunities when released to society delivers a benefit and slows the revolving door of recidivism.
It also means that within the jail, sought-after privileges can be offered and withdrawn as incentives for good behaviour.
Inside, there's a bakery, a few market gardens and some recycling work, but for the most part, Canberra's inmates are simply bored senseless. Drugs help pass the time, which makes for a thriving trade within the prison.
Canberra's jail wasn't designed to have sizeable industrial facilities and there was always the political fear that products sold into the market by subsidised industry operating inside the fences would have an unfair advantage. It's an argument of little consequence and doesn't look at the bigger picture.
Canberra is waiting to see what the planned low-security 80-bed "reintegration centre" looks like. What it won't be is the pressure relief valve the prison needs to avoid more frequent repeats of the tumult that put the jail into lockdown again this week.