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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5834 ..

estimates committee in May when you agreed that the planned population—and I emphasise “planned population”—of the prison was 300?


MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson?

MR HANSON: Minister, in a speech to Christians for an Ethical Society on 19 March 2008 you said of the AMC:

It is built to accommodate up to 300 prisoners of all classifications, sentenced and remand, male and female.

Minister, did you mislead the Christians for an Ethical Society if the jail can only accommodate up to about 245 prisoners?

MR CORBELL: No. And the basis of Mr Hanson’s question is invalid and false. The reason is that it depends, of course, on the requirement to provide for separation of prisoners. This will vary, depending on the prisoner population. If there is a need for a high number of prisoners to be kept, for example, on separation or strict separation from other prisoners, that will reduce the overall capacity that is able to be utilised at the prison. I would have thought that was bleedingly obvious to everyone, except perhaps, obviously, to Mr Hanson.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, in a speech during the pre-election opening of Alexander Maconochie Centre on 11 September 2008 you said, “The capacity of the centre is 300.” Minister, did you mislead the community if the real capacity is only 245?

MR CORBELL: The opposition do not seem to appreciate the issues around the operational elements of the prison and its theoretical capacity. Its capacity is 300. At no stage have I misled anyone in relation to that. But the operational requirements of a particular prisoner mix may result in fewer than those 300 beds being able to be utilised. I would have thought that was obvious.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, to what extent do extended stays for individuals in the isolation section affect the ability of the AMC to separate prisoners as required?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. Again, this highlights the point. There are a range of factors that impact on the ability of the prison to utilise all of the beds in that facility. Certainly the number of prisoners that have to be kept in

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