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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3249 ..

MADAM SPEAKER: Members! Mrs Jones, that is not helpful.

MR BARR: Construction sector leaders have met with Minister Cheyne, with Minister Gentleman, I believe also with Minister Vassarotti, and with officials, often five times a week and then three times a week. There are no remaining issues to be raised with the government at this time.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—transitional release centre

MR BRADDOCK: My question is to the Minister for Corrections. The transitional release centre at AMC is important for papering detainees for reintegration back into the community, but during estimates you stated it had been closed due to COVID reasons. When will this centre be reopened?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Braddock for the question around the transitional release centre. I will refer to the transitional release program in my answer as well. The centre refers to the lower security accommodation within the greater AMC area but external to the main perimeter of AMC. It can accommodate up to 20 eligible male detainees, and is specifically utilised for detainees participating in the release program, or the TRP.

The program is structured to engage eligible detainees in reintegrative activities that will assist them to transition from custody back to the community. So they are able to leave AMC during the day, for example, and attend work. The program is open to sentenced male and female detainees, but the centre itself is only available for male detainees.

At the moment we have been using the centre for COVID activities, but as soon as the pressure is released on those COVID activities and we are able to open up normal business as usual at the AMC we should be able to see those opportunities for the centre into the future.

MR BRADDOCK: Will the government be changing the criteria for participation in the transitional release program so that more detainees can access that program?

MR GENTLEMAN: Yes, in one aspect. We have funded a study into women detainees at the AMC who were previously not able to use that function. They were able to use the transitional release program, but the centre itself was not designed for women detainees. Part of the study we are doing will look at that and see whether we can make an opportunity for women detainees in the centre into the future.

I have asked Ray Johnson, the commissioner, to look particularly at women’s accommodation across AMC. You would have heard recently that we were able to release women back into the designed area for women detainees at AMC, who were previously engaged in the men’s area. I am pleased that that has been able to go forward. No doubt the financial resources for the study going forward for women detainees should help us look at whether we can use the TRC into the future for them too.

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