Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995
Parliamentary Record 11
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 The $139 000 decrease in juvenile detention funding reflects changes to this division following consistently low numbers of juveniles in custody since the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre opened in 1991. A review of juvenile detention centres was undertaken by my department earlier this year which has resulted in the rationalisation of the staffing capacity of the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre and the Wildman River Wilderness Work Camp. The Wildman River Wilderness Work Camp will now operate as a program of the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre, and there will be 3 less staff between the 2 facilities. These arrangements will allow the government to maintain high quality juvenile corrections programs at 2 separate facilities, even though the total number of detainees, including those on remand, has rarely exceeded 25 over the past 2 years. Although the number of juveniles sentenced to detention from around central Australia is small, in actual fact the number arrested and held temporarily by the police is much higher. Arrangements are in place for juveniles to be bailed through the Juvenile Offender Placement Program wherever possible. This issue has been addressed through a variety of local initiatives. As a long-term measure, a temporary specialist juvenile holding facility has been incorporated into the construction program for the new Alice Springs Prison. There has been a small reduction in the budget of the Community Based Corrections Activity. This is in recognition of savings which continue to accrue in this area of activity following a review in 1994. The increase in the Corporate Management Program budget results from higher grants to the department to undertake particular services. Funds in the Corporate Management Program for Ending Offending programs for prisoners with alcohol problems have increased to $90 000, whilst Aboriginal employment program funds have increased to $168 000 The most significant event for my department in 1995-96 will almost certainly be the commissioning of the new Alice Springs Prison later this year. Some $5.9m has been provided on the capital works program for 1995-96 to complete construction works on this $27m project. The prison will be able initially to house 220 prisoners, with the capacity to hold twice this number through double-bunking, in conditions that comply with all relative recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Construction of the prison has boosted the Alice Springs economy with contracts to local companies expected to total more than $20m by the time it is completed. Up to 200 people have been employed on the site during construction. The new prison will be commissioned over a one-month period during which the old Alice Springs jail will continue to operate. There will be few prisoners in the new prison at first, with the intention of ironing out any bugs in the system before the prison is fully occupied. Up to 30 minimum security prisoners are housed already in the completed minimum security cottages which adjoin the new prison. These prisoners provide a working group to undertake self-help work on the site, including landscaping. The design capacity of Darwin Prison has been increased from 175 to 215 prisoners with the construction of a purpose-built 10-cell reception unit and the conversion of an industries area into a 30-bed minimum security unit. The minimum security facility was built entirely by way of self-help and prison labour at the remarkable cost of just $9000. A number of minor works will be undertaken at Darwin Prison in 1995-96 which will continue to improve facilities and services at the prison. These include: completing the relocation of the control room which will combine visual surveillance with management functions and improved staffing 3543
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