A vehicle used to transport Canberra prisoners has serious design flaws that would trap prisoners in the event of a crash or fire, a scathing review into Canberra's corrective services has revealed.
The review found prison officers responsible for transporting prisoners had also had inadequate training and policies were woefully out of date.
Questions were also raised over the procurement processes of two prison vehicles and whether they were fit-for-purpose.
The review was completed by ACT Inspector of Correctional Services Neil McAllister, who made 22 recommendations and 12 findings.
He said it was unacceptable the Community Services Directorate had failed to provide basic training for court transport officers to deal with young detainees.
"It is understandable that some [officers] may feel apprehensive and vulnerable when they are required to use force and restraints on young detainees as they have little to no training," the report read.
"Officers also told us that they are not provided training in de-escalation techniques for young detainees, so feel as though they are unable to prevent situations escalating to where use of force is necessary."
The review found the corrections management policy was woefully out of date, even referencing the Belconnen Remand Centre, which has not been functional since 2009.
"It is unacceptable to still have in force a policy that has not been revised for almost 12 years," the report read.
The inspector found some officers had not completed mandatory training, while concerning gaps in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness as well as safety training were revealed.
The review also raised serious concerns about the safety and procurement of the prison fleet of vehicles used to transport prisoners.
One van, Romeo 4, was in urgent need of replacement due to its dangerous design flaws and poor maintenance, which could put the lives of detainees at risk.
It would be very difficult, if at all possible, to allow prisoners seated in the double-padlocked box in the back of the vehicle to escape in the event of an accident or a fire.
A recently acquired transport vehicle, Romeo 5, is now the subject of an auditor-general's investigation.
"In effect, an eight-passenger vehicle became a very big and expensive four-passenger vehicle," the report said.
"[It] has never been 'fit for purpose' and there are serious questions around the vehicle procurement process."
CPSU ACT secretary Maddy Northam said members had been frustrated by a lack of training for months, if not years.
"That is not their fault - they have been begging for training," she said.
"It's frustrating that it takes a scathing report like this for something to actually happen."
Ms Northam said the government had to act immediately to replace the dangerous transport vehicle and train officers appropriately.
Corrections Minister Mick Gentleman said he had instructed the Justice and Community Safety Directorate to urgently develop a plan of action to address the report's findings.
"This report makes it clear there is more to do to ensure corrective services staff have access to up-to-date and clear policies, adequate training, and can go to work in a safe environment," he said.
"Staff in the transport unit have performed diligently throughout a period of significant change, including the transition from an old and unfit court complex to the new court cells."