The Tasmanian Government notes the tabling of the Custodial Inspector’s 2021 Capacity Utilisation Review Report in Parliament today.
I can advise that the Tasmania Prison Service (TPS) has carefully considered the Review and of the seven recommendations, five have already been addressed through existing initiatives or strategies which have recently been implemented, with one supported in-principle.
I also note the inspection on which the review is based was conducted in January of this year, and a number of changes have already occurred since that time which address points raised by the Custodial Inspector.
The 2021 Report on Government Services confirmed Tasmania’s prison utilisation rate was 92.6 per cent, which is well below the national average of 103.1 per cent for the same period.
A number of strategies have also been developed to enable the TPS to effectively manage capacity pressures.
This includes the installation of a number of temporary surge beds and the phased introduction of a dedicated Vacancy Management Unit to oversee the assignment of prisoners to accommodation.
Our Government’s significant multi-million dollar investment in correctional infrastructure projects will further boost the TPS’s capacity in future.
Remandees have been the fastest growing prison population group in Tasmania in recent years, and we are acting to alleviate this pressure through the construction of the new Southern Remand Centre.
This will provide 156 beds to enable people held on remand to be housed separately from sentenced prisoners, and is on track to begin operation in early 2022.
We are also continuing to progress our plan for a Northern Regional Prison which, once complete, will accommodate up to 270 prisoners and remandees, and provide the TPS with greater capacity and operational flexibility.
Elise Archer, Minister for Corrections