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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 5835..


isolation can have an impact on the total number of beds that are able to be utilised. Indeed, in similar circumstances, the number of prisoners that have to be kept on a strict protection basis, prisoners that have to be kept on a protection basis, also has an impact on the number of beds that are able to be utilised.

These figures will vary from time to time. It is not the case that there is a particular figure below 300 that is the absolute maximum that can be utilised. It will depend on the mix of prisoners and the requirements in terms of their accommodation and their separation, in particular their separation from other prisoners.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—capacity

MR SMYTH: My question is to the minister for corrections and relates to the capacity of the new jail. Minister, in answer to a question on notice from Mr Seselja on 27 September 2007 you provided the projected prisoner population of the new jail, showing that in 2008 the prison was expected to have a population of 244, increasing to 247 in 2009, and would have 256 prisoners by 2012. Minister, if the real capacity of the AMC is only about 245 prisoners, why did you plan for and open a jail that, by your own projections, would be full when you opened it?

MR CORBELL: I simply refer Mr Smyth to my previous answer, Mr Speaker, which is that the operational capacity at the jail will depend on the mix of prisoners in the facility and their requirements in terms of separation from other prisoners. This will vary from time to time.

In relation to numbers in the jail at the moment, it is worth highlighting that prisoner numbers are moving around significantly at this period of time. For example, in June last year there were only 163 prisoners accommodated in the jail. As recently as 14 November there were 230 prisoners accommodated in the jail. Currently there are 222—as of 2 December—in the prison. These figures will vary from time to time. It is difficult to predict. Indeed, there is no accepted methodology that we can reliably rely on, although some extrapolations based on past trends are available.

MR HARGREAVES: Supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth still has the call, Mr Hargreaves. Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Minister, did you mislead Assembly members when you said that the prison had a capacity for 300 prisoners, or did you mislead Assembly members when you said it was not a surprise to anyone that capacity was only 245 prisoners?

MR CORBELL: Once again the ability of the Liberal Party to plumb the simplistic depths has been highlighted in these questions today, Mr Speaker. The prison has a capacity of 300 beds, but the operational requirements of the prison may result—

Mr Seselja: Does that include the sick bay?

MR CORBELL: in fewer beds being able to be utilised because of the prisoner mix.

Mr Seselja: Does that include the sick bay?


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