Work begins on expansion of prison in Victoria's northwest …

Corrections Minister Edward O Donohue visited Castlemaine, in Victoria s northwest, today to inspect works on the $66 million expansion at Loddon Prison.

Mr O Donohue, who was joined by member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum, said the construction of the new 152 bed secure annexe at Loddon formed a key part of the Victorian Coalition Government s historic prison expansion program. With Victoria s prison population growing, these new beds and prison infrastructure will play a critical role in supporting a safer community, while creating an economic boost to the surrounding area, Mr O Donohue said. At a local level, the Loddon expansion is driving additional investment and creating job opportunities in central Victoria.

We expect to have up to 170 people working on-site during construction many of them local sub-contractors and more than 40 new prison jobs when construction is complete in the middle of 2014. The new facility represents a new type of security classification restricted minimum. It will sit outside the existing prison walls, but with its own secure perimeter, Mr O Donohue said.

It will cater for prisoners coming towards the end of their sentence by providing them with important rehabilitation and reintegration services, programs, education, vocational training, and post-release support. It is crucial that we do all we can to help people lead productive and crime-free lives when they return to the community. The annexe will include four 38-bed accommodation blocks, its own gatehouse, visitor centre, offender services centre, medical centre, industries area and administration wing.

This year s Victorian Budget delivered more than $78 million to fund 357 prison beds in the men s prison system, including the construction of 247 new beds and the continued operation of 110 beds. The new beds come on top of funding in the previous two Budgets, including money to build a new 500 bed male prison at Ravenhall in Melbourne s west. Loddon Prison currently accommodates medium-security male prisoners serving short, medium and long-term sentences for a range of offences.

It also accommodates some prisoners with disabilities or other complex needs.

Loddon opened in August 1990 as a replacement for the old Castlemaine Gaol, which originally opened in 1861 to service the goldfields and surrounding towns. About these ads1

References

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