THE state government says it is seriously considering using shipping containers to house inmates at Langi Kal Kal prison.
Inspecting the newly opened expanded facilities at the prison yesterday, Corrections Minister Edward O’Donohue said plans had been made to install the “portable” prison accommodation, however it was yet to be determined if they would be required.
When plans to use shipping containers were announced in early December, the government was criticised by prison experts and the Opposition for only developing short-term solutions.
Prisoners started moving into minimum-security shipping containers at Dhurringile Prison, near Shepparton, little more than a week ago.
Mr O’Donohue declared at the time more containers would be used as Victoria’s prison population continued to grow, but yesterday he would not confirm if Langi Kal Kal would be one of the sites.
“It is something the government is seriously considering,” he said. “We have done the appropriate planning that, if they are needed, they will be ready. It depends on the future growth in prisoner numbers.
“They have been very well received by the prisoners (at Dhurringile).”
Mr O’Donohue said at the peak of the prison crisis in November, more than 372 prisoners were being housed in police stations, but that number had fallen sharply and now sat below 150 prisoners.
Langi Kal Kal now has a capacity of 307 inmates, with current works to increase the capacity to 433.
Current work has created more than 50 construction jobs, with a recruitment drive on for additional workers to staff Langi Kal Kal and Ararat’s Hopkins Correctional Centre.
Mr O’Donohue said Langi Kal Kal currently employed 90 prison officers and staff.