Prisons will again be overlooked in upcoming budget

19 Sep 2006 archivemedia

Prison infrastructure and in-house programs are likely to be big losers in Thursday’s State Budget, Shadow Correctional Services Minister Michelle Lensink said today.

SMs Lensink said she expected history to be repeated in this year’s Budget with spending on prisons and prisoner rehabilitation and treatment programs to be overlooked again in favour of projects such as funding big screens at AAMI stadium.

“It has been over two years of promises of upgrades to the women’s prison and major restructure of the state’s prison system and still the community has yet to see any confirmation of capital works projects except for the completion of Mobilong,” Ms Lensink said.

“The continued neglect of our prisons not only places prisoners at risk and increases the likelihood of reoffending, it also compromises the safety of corrections employees, as highlighted last month with the discovery of make-shift weapons at Yatala.

“Sources have advised my office that bridging finance has been refused to key in-house prison services which is an indication that the Rann Government intends to cease funding them in the Budget.

“So far this year we have heard reports of

South Australian courts being so bogged down that remandees have to be housed at Port Augusta, Mobilong and the City Watch House in an effort to curb the overcrowding at Adelaide Remand Centre

Staff shortages and overcrowding resulting in lock-downs at SA prisons

Correctional Services positions being left unfilled due to budget constraints hanging points in cells only being removed after attempted suicides by inmates

“The best excuse that Correctional Services Minister Zollo can offer is to claim that so far there has been no funding cut to the Department for Correctional Services.

“This is hardly a cause for celebration when the number of prisoners has increased 14.3 per cent in the past five years.

“There is no question that South Australia needs good policing and appropriate sentencing to combat crime but under the Rann Government the vast majority of jailed offenders are simply ‘parked’ in prison with no attempt at rehabilitation.

“The fact that the government has continued to ignore the problems within correction over the last five years is an indication of its intention in this week’s budget.