Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 April 2011) . . Page.. 1431 ..
the requirement in terms of capacity, indicated that by 2040 the total prison population would be expected to be around 275. They know this already, yet they continue to assert that the government made decisions contrary to advice on the issue of capacity at the AMC.
The issue of capacity at the AMC is not unlike any other prison around the country. Prisoner numbers are notoriously difficult to predict because they rely on individual sentencing decisions by the court. But the government made decisions about the capacity of the AMC and what provision should be made based on a detailed projection, a projection which was approved not only by my department but also by the ACT Treasurer.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, a supplementary?
MR COE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Attorney-General, why is the AMC full already?
MR CORBELL: The AMC is not full, and Mr Hamburger does not conclude that the AMC is full. Mr Hamburger concludes that the difficulty arises when you have a range of classifications and a range of requirements to keep certain prisoners separated or segregated from other prisoners. This will vary and change depending on the particular range of prisoners you have in the facility. The fact is that right now the AMC is managing those issues. There are of course challenges, and there are of course some constraints in relation to those matters, and the government will continue to keep a close eye and prepare appropriate responses, where appropriate, to those circumstances. The AMC is not full.
MR HARGREAVES: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.
MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, has the introduction of a rather unique therapeutic community at the AMC had an effect on the projected capacity?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. That is the case, as indeed Mr Hamburger confirms in his report. If those opposite had read that report they would know that, for example, the provision of the therapeutic community currently operating out of one of the cottage buildings at the AMC does mean that a significant number of beds are not available for use in other parts of the facility. The government is exploring a range of options to look at different housing and accommodation for the therapeutic community to deal with that issue as well as the issue of the prospect of some prisoners, intimidating prisoners, who choose to go through the difficult and challenging process of participating in the therapeutic community to address their particular addiction.
That is an issue which Mr Hamburger identifies as a concern. It is one of the issues which the task force will be implemented in tackling and addressing these issues. Once again, it is, I think, pertinent to know that those opposite clearly have not had regard to the detail of that issue in the report, otherwise they would not have asked the question in the way they did.