By PHILIPPA DUNCAN
RISDON Prison inmates threw molotov cocktails, set fire to an office, smashed lights, threw paint and trashed cells before being subdued by a chemical spray yesterday.
The Tasmanian prison’s tactical response group stormed Division Four at dawn and ended the 20-hour siege with force and a type of chemical spray.
Assistant prisons director Greg Partridge said no one was hurt in the riot and the 26 male inmates had ultimately surrendered. He said the guard involved was "obviously very shaken".
He would not identify the chemical used on the inmates because it was an "operational matter".
The stand-off began at 10am on Saturday when an inmate overpowered a female guard near the maximum security cells and stole her keys to Division Four. The guard fled, then the inmate released 25 other prisoners from their cells and they took over the division.
Paint and equipment had been left in the division to repaint cells, and the inmates used the paint to make molotov cocktails.
Mr Partridge said the inmates trashed the division and threatened staff.
"Mattresses shredded, broken glass, office furniture damaged and thrown all over the division, totally destroyed," he said.
He said the inmates’ demands for fast food, better access to dental treatment and prison exercise areas had not been met.
The siege was the second at Risdon in a year and has prompted the prison guards union to demand an urgent security review. The prison was locked down last night, visits were banned and the inmates involved were locked in spare cells.