Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania

24 January 2018

Elise Archer, Minister for Corrections

Report on Government Services highlights need for northern prison

**Embargoed until 12.15am Thursday 25/01/2018**

Today’s release of the Corrections Report on Government Services (ROGS) has confirmed the need for a new prison in the State’s north.

The Report confirms that Tasmania’s daily average prison population increased by 9.7 per cent in 2016-17 when compared to the previous year.

Whilst rising prisoner populations are a nationwide trend, our strong actions since coming to Government have resulted in more serious offenders than ever being caught and imprisoned for their crimes.

It is clear that a new prison is needed to accommodate the larger prisoner population, ensure the safety of the community and our Tasmania Prison Service (TPS) staff, and allow for greater rehabilitation opportunities for prisoners. This is why a re-elected majority Liberal Government will build a 270 bed prison in the State’s north.

This is in addition to the $17 million already committed by this Government, which will see a further 61 beds beginning to come online in 2018 at Risdon Prison.

The contrast with Labor couldn’t be clearer after they backflipped on the supposed centrepiece of their Economic Directions Statement to build a northern prison.

Their hastily and ill-conceived plan to replace or renovate the Launceston Reception Centre will do absolutely nothing to address the rising prisoner population, meaning the only alternative is to either let dangerous prisoners out on the street to reoffend or a guarantee that Risdon will be continually over capacity, for double and triple bunking to be the norm and an escalation in lock-downs, assaults on staff and other challenges at the prison.

It will in fact create additional burden - where are inmates held whilst this replacement or renovation occurs? Will prisoners be transported between Hobart and Launceston daily?

This also comes after Labor opposed every single measure the Government has taken to crackdown on crime.

It is clear that only the Hodgman Liberal Government has a plan to keep Tasmanians safe, and we will invest in the prison infrastructure our State needs to ensure serious and dangerous criminals are securely behind bars, where they belong.

The Report also confirms the Government’s policies are working to reduce recidivism rates and help offenders get their lives back on track.

Prisoners released during 2014-15 who returned to prison within two years are below the Australian national average, and we will continue to work towards reducing recidivism rates even further and encourage the effective rehabilitation of prisoners.

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