Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 13 October 2022) . . Page.. 3110 ..
MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (5.43): Talking to the JACS elements of the appropriation, I will address, firstly, corrections. The Greens want to create a safe, healthy and connected community by building communities, not prisons. This vision is to ensure that we keep our community safe by preventing and reducing crime, by focusing attention on reducing recidivism. We believe in a smarter approach to the criminal justice system.
I note with concern the continued challenges at the AMC in preparing detainees for release back into the community. Despite repeated committee inquiries, recommendations and debates in this place, we are yet to see a meaningful increase in the use of the transitional release centre. The continued over-classification of detainee security risk mean that detainees are ineligible to access the TRC or the Transitional Release Program. This directly impacts on their ability to successfully reintegrate into the community.
It should be remembered that there are approximately 400 people detained at the AMC at any point in time, and that the TRC only has a capacity in the range of 15 to 20 beds. We are only addressing a small proportion of detainees who are released each and every year. The reintegration centre was planned to have a capacity of up to 60 beds. It is time that we progressed this initiative to help those leaving the AMC to be in the best possible position to successfully return to the community.
I agree with the estimates view that, given budget commitments to build a reintegration centre were made several budgets ago, and the ongoing delays that it has faced, we need to be clear as to when we can expect the reintegration centre to become a reality.
I also want to reiterate the importance that, here in the ACT, as a human rights jurisdiction, the human rights of detainees are respected. This is dependent on a correctional services culture that puts human rights at the centre of every decision. This needs to percolate through all levels of the staff structure, so that the human rights of detainees are upheld in a vulnerable environment, such as a prison.
Another program that I would like to see advanced is the needle exchange program in the AMC. We know that drug use is happening, and that unsafe needle use can lead to the spread of bloodborne viruses. We know that needle exchange programs keep drug users and those around them safe. A program like this, which keeps both detainees and staff safe, is important and acknowledges the reality of the complex entanglement of drug use and crime. Therefore this program should not be forgotten or left off the agenda.
Moving on to police and emergency services, firstly, on behalf of the ACT Greens, I would like to thank our first responders and everyone who works in the police and emergency services and who contribute to making Canberra a safer community. As everyone else runs from danger, they run towards it. That should be acknowledged and they should be thanked.
Talking about ambulances first, I would note that ambulance fees are an issue that warrants further inquiry going forward. Financial considerations should not apply when a purely medical decision is required—that being whether or not one needs an