Prisoner smashes windows in protest over power cut

A PRISONER who smashed two windows in his cell with a nail file claimed he did so because the power had been switched off.

The offences took place at Borallon jail at Ironbark during the coronavirus lockdown.

The prisoner, Michael Roderick Jones, 29, appeared from jail via video-link before Ipswich Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to doing wilful damage to his cell on April 15.

Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Caldwell said Jones was in cell number one at unit six when prisoner unrest escalated.

Threats were yelled out to staff and the prisoners were ordered to cease protesting.

Sgt Caldwell said the cells had previously been locked down due to COVID-19 social distancing procedures and this had suspended any social activity and contact visits from family.

The unrest led some prisoners to climb up on the roof the day before, the court heard.

Staff discovered the smashed windows after checking on the cell occupied by Jones and another inmate later on.

On April 16 detectives from the Correctives Services investigation unit spoke to Jones.

“He said he smashed the two windows with a nail file, and did so in protest after having power disconnected to his cell,” Sgt Caldwell said.

“He said it was his belief it was done as punitive punishment by the officers for the last 24 hours.”

No restitution for the damage was sought.

Defence lawyer Trevor Hoskin said Jones was a father of one who had his own lawn mowing business before going to jail.

Magistrate Donna MacCallum noted Jones’s parole release had been delayed pending the finalisation of this matter.

Jones was sentenced to a two-month jail term, with immediate eligibility to begin his parole application.

Nicholas Keith Weribone, 29, also pleaded guilty to causing wilful damage at Borallon Correctional Centre on April 15.

At the time he was residing in cell 14.

Weribone received a two-month jail term, with immediate eligibility to apply for parole.