Prisons in Tasmania are overstretched at almost every point, with frequent lockdowns at the state's biggest jail forcing important rehabilitation programs to be suspended.
The state's custodial inspector says the lack of programs at Risdon Prison should be addressed as an "urgent priority".
"Rehabilitation programs that address offending behaviour are vital to reducing reoffending and the related likelihood of people returning to prison," Richard Connock said in his report released this week.
He said no programs had been delivered at the prison in 2020 due to frequent lockdowns and none were scheduled for the rest of the year.
"As I have noted in previous reports, the Tasmanian Prison Service (TPS) is overstretched at almost every point due to the continual increase in prisoner numbers and existing infrastructure constraints," he wrote.
"This also creates system pressures in many areas including education, employment for prisoners and preparation for their release."
Mr Connock said the number of Risdon Prison inmates working in the community had recently reduced from 25 to one.
He added there were "very few" opportunities for prisoners to resocialise with family, which should be a priority under rehabilitation measures.
Risdon Prison can hold up to roughly 300 maximum and medium security inmates.
The state government says it has agreed to all but one of the report's 39 recommendations and significant progress is already underway.
"It is clear that a more balanced approach is required for TPS to meet its safety and security obligations while at the same time ensuring prisoners receive rehabilitation and reintegration," Mr Connock said.
The report also said poor case management of remand prisoners and those serving a sentence of six months or less was an issue.
Australian Associated Press