LANGI Kal Kal Prison will gain an extra 50 beds, to be located in shipping containers, hoping to combat a crisis in overcrowded prisons.
The state government hopes the relocatables will cut the number of prisoners being held in police cells as Victoria’s prisons reach capacity.
The number of prisoners being held in police cells is 234, which is an increase from the figure of around 130 prisoners in January.
However, this is still a sharp drop from the 372 prisoners being held in police cells in November.
The new beds will be installed in 25 containers and are expected to be in use by May.
Minister for Corrections Edward O’Donohue described the figure as “manageable” and said the container scheme was part of the improvement.
“It has definitely taken the pressure off and it has definitely improved,” he said.
Similar containers have already been installed at the minimum security Dhurringile Prison, north of Melbourne.
More containers are expected to be installed soon at Beechworth Prison.
Mr O’Donohue also visited Dadswell Bridge where prisoners have been working to repair and replace fences destroyed by the January bushfires.
“Prisoners are out in the local community, delivering real work for local farmers and for the local communities following on from the devastating bushfires of recent times,” he said.
“We have a range of programs to address recidivism in our prisoner populations when they are released into the community.
“That is why we have a significantly lower recidivism rate than New South Wales and other jurisdictions.”
Mr O’Donohue hit out at the previous government who he said were responsible for many of the problems with the prison
system. “We are fixing the legacy of under-investment we have inherited from the previous government,” he said.