The Rann Government announcement today of a $500 million program has been cautiously welcomed by the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Correctional Services said today.
Ms Lensink said that the program was designed to quell long term criticism from industry groups and the Opposition about the appalling state of our prisons.
“This government has neglected prison infrastructure and while we welcome this announcement it will be interesting to see when and how long it will take for this program to be completed or whether the initial capital costs will blow over as they have for transport,” Ms Lensink said.
“The only capital works or infrastructure project the Rann Government completed from start to finish in the last five years was the 50 bed extension to Mobilong – which is now going to be replaced by the new prison.
“That in itself is proof that when they opened the $4 million extension to Mobilong last year, they did not have the intention to rebuild the prison infrastructure and that they have never had a long term plan for correctional services.
“On September 1, 2004, the Rann Government announced that it would be refurbishing the women’s prison, which has been operating at reduced capacity since a fire destroyed it’s A-wing in March 2004. This never happened, and the government made no effort in the last two years to even begin this project.
“How can South Australia believe in any announcement this government makes regarding our correctional services when they have reneged so many in the past, it was originally a Liberal Party policy to rebuild all South Australian prisons including the Adelaide Remand Centre.
“What the community needs to know from the government now is what is going to happen in the prisons now? Where is the funding for the extra correctional staff who are needed urgently to combat the problem of overcrowding?
“This announcement does nothing to give the immediate relief needed in our prison system.”