Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 4 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1119..
This facility will provide corrections with greater capability for separation, in part due to the hub and spoke design of this unit, which will mean that there are four sections that are effectively partitioned.
As corrections minister, it is clear to me that some expansion of our prison is necessary. The ACT government has a duty of care to those inside the prison to provide adequate space and facilities, to meet expectations that the security of the community is maintained and to ensure that the safety of detainees and staff is paramount. Our correctional officers are dedicated professionals with the right skills and attitudes to make a real contribution to the day-to-day rehabilitation of detainees, and also deserve to be provided with the best workplace we can provide.
This expansion project has layers of complexity to it beyond the number of beds that will be added to the AMC facility. We absolutely need to respond to the unprecedented increase in detainees we have seen over the past 12 months. We need to do it in a way that delivers us a smarter, more flexible prison which will allow Corrective Services to run the full suite of programs for detainees and operate in a safe way even when there is a surge in detainee numbers.
At the same time, I strongly believe that we should not be expanding the AMC without also investing government resources in justice reinvestment and diversion programs. The government is already doing work in this area through programs such as through-care.
This moderate proposal for the expansion of the Alexander Maconochie Centre challenges the government to continue to reduce offending and reoffending. I consider the additional facilities to be just one part of the ACT government's response to dealing with criminal behaviour.
In conjunction with these additional facilities, we need to ensure that we are working hard to slow the growing prison population by ensuring funding for justice reinvestment, rehabilitation and diversion programs. These programs will bring benefit to the community by increasing safety and reducing crime. They also offer benefits to those who have found themselves in the criminal justice system—a stronger pathway to integrate back into society and lead fulfilling lives.
In the coming months, I will be working with my colleague the Attorney-General to develop a justice reform strategy aimed at achieving these goals. Reducing offending will bring clear financial and social benefits to the territory as a whole and to the many individuals personally impacted by crime.
The growth in detainee numbers and the need to respond have presented us with significant challenges. I believe the actions I have outlined show we are rising to this challenge.
I present the following paper:
Alexander Maconochie Centre—Additional facilities—Ministerial statement, 6 May 2014.
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