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CCTV emerges of Vic Ravenhall prison riot

Dramatic new footage inside Victoria's Ravenhall prison shows inmates driving a front end loader and trucks through fences and lighting fires during the destructive 2015 riot.

The CCTV footage, obtained by Seven News, shows prisoners lighting fires, ramming through fences with vehicles and unscrewing doors to let other prisoners escape during the 15-hour riot.

The riot at the Ravenhall Metropolitan Remand Centre started a day before a prison smoking ban was due to take effect on August 1, 2015.

Bodycam footage shows prison officers being ordered to retreat to the prison gatehouse before prisoners set guard stations on fire and drive vehicles through fences to access secure areas.

A van full of staff is also seen narrowly escaping as inmates chase after it armed with metal poles.

The state's corrections minister said it was only a matter of time before an incident like this occurred at the prison.

"It is simply the truth that it was understaffed, crowded, under resourced and it was a time bomb that was going to go off. And it did," Corrections Minister Gayle Tierney said.

The riot caused an estimated $12 million of damage.

Lawyers for the Department of Justice and Regulation appeared in Melbourne Magistrates' Court last week after it was charged by WorkSafe over the riot.

The department faces four charges and is accused of failing to provide a safe working environment at the prison between January 1 and June 30, according to court documents.

WorkSafe also alleges the department failed to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to health and safety.

More than 100 inmates were later charged over their involvement in the riot.

The justice department will return to court on April 6.

© AAP 2017

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