Labor continue to run prisons over approved capacity


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released yesterday show South Australia’s prison capacity crisis continues unabated.

“Right now our prison system is bursting at the seams with 2,830 prisoners being held on average in a prison system with an official capacity of 2715,” said Shadow Minister for Correctional Services Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“The ABS data shows that on average during the December quarter there were 115 prisoners in custody above the approved capacity.

“The question for the new Minister for Corrections Peter Malinauskas is when will prisoner numbers and prison bed numbers be returned to equilibrium.

“Last month, the State Liberal’s welcomed Minister Malinauskas saying that Labor Government’s ten years of “rack‘em, stack‘em, pack‘em” strategy in our prisons is over.

“What is the Minister’s plan for resolving this crisis?

“Overcrowded prisons lead to heightened tensions and pose increased dangers for prison officers and prisoners alike.

“Moving prisoners around from prison to prison impedes their ability to participate in rehabilitation and education programs.

“Today’s problems in our prison system date back to the Labor Government’s decision in 2009 to cancel a new prison project – a decision that meant they paid $10 million to private contractors not to build a prison.

“Last financial year there was a $9 million blowout in the operating costs for South Australian prisons caused by the prison capacity crisis.

“The fact is the cost of the crisis in prison capacity will continue to grow over the next few years as the Weatherill Government scrambles to sweep their past mistakes under the carpet.

“The challenge for Minister Malinauskas is delivering on his promise to solve the crisis.”