MEDIA RELEASE: Extra 84 beds added to 152-bed expansion …
Minister for Corrections Edward O Donohue today (21/11/2013) announced an extra 84 beds will be added to the 152-bed expansion already underway at Loddon Prison to support the Victorian Coalition Government s community safety mandate.
Construction started earlier this year on the new secure annexe outside the walls of Castlemaine s Loddon Prison, and today s announcement will increase the total number of new beds to 236.
The prison expansion is also driving a jobs boom in the region, with up to 170 workers on site during construction, and at least 40 ongoing staff jobs when the expansion opens.
Mr O Donohue said the new facility at Loddon was planned with expansion in mind, saying the Coalition Government was responding to Victoria s growing prisoner numbers driven by a community safety crackdown.
The Victorian community and the Coalition Government strongly believe that community safety is paramount and we are delivering the facilities to support a safer Victoria now and into the future, Mr O Donohue said.
Since the Coalition Government came to office, more than 680 new prison beds have been opened, with more than 2,500 new beds in the pipeline.
Mr O Donohue said the reforms already introduced to Victoria s parole system were seeing fewer offenders getting parole and more offenders being sent back to prison for breaching the conditions of their parole.
Last financial year, parole denials and parole cancellations were up by more than 40 per cent compared to 2011-12. That trend is continuing in the current financial year, Mr O Donohue said.
These parole reforms have clearly contributed to an increase in Victoria s prison population and the Coalition Government is building the beds required to support this community safety crackdown.
In September, the Coalition Government also announced it would double the size of Victoria s new Ravenhall Prison in Melbourne s west to 1,000 beds. Construction is due to commence in early 2015 and be completed in late 2017.
The 2013-14 State Budget allocated $53 million to build a new 40-bed high security unit at Barwon Prison and upgrade the existing Banksia Management Unit at Barwon.
An extra $78 million was allocated to build and operate 357 beds across the male prison system over the next two years.
Mr O Donohue said the Coalition Government was delivering one of the largest prison expansion programs in Victoria s history.
Major expansions are already underway at Hopkins Correctional Centre (formerly Ararat Prison), Marngoneet, the Metropolitan Remand Centre, Langi Kal Kal, and Loddon Prison, with additional beds being added at other prisons across Victoria.
Due to be completed in the middle of 2014, the new 236-bed annexe is the first stage of the overall $76 million upgrade and expansion underway at Loddon.
The second stage is an upgrade to the prison s security system and is due for completion before September 2014.
The new facility will represent a new type of security classification restricted minimum sitting outside the existing prison walls, but with its own secure perimeter.
Applications are now open for new prison officer and other positions to support the expanded facilities, and I encourage anyone interested to visit http://www.cvcareers.com.au to1 find out more, Mr O Donohue said.
Loddon Prison currently accommodates medium-security male prisoners serving mainly medium and long-term sentences for a range of offences.
It also accommodates some prisoners with disability 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.