OVERCROWDING at Melbourne remand centres has forced Corrections Victoria to relocate Melbourne-based prisoners to the Ballarat police station.
Eight prisoners were housed in Ballarat this week amid concerns the Melbourne Custody Centre would be too full to cope with an expected influx of arrestees.
A major drug bust worth $29 million in Melbourne earlier this week had police expecting to arrest about 80 people, forcing a re-shuffle among remand centres throughout Victoria, according to the Victorian Police Association.
However, only 11 arrests were made.
Out of the 25 cell vacancies at Ballarat, the police association said eight were taken by Melbourne-based prisoners, who were expected to be transferred back to Melbourne at some stage next week.
Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight blamed the government for not being able to adequately cope with the growing number of prisoners.
“It is further evidence they haven’t funded their law and order policies they promised,” Ms Knight said.
However, a spokesperson for Minister for Corrections Andrew Walsh hit back at the criticism, claiming the problems with the prison system had existed long before the Liberal government came to power.
“Pressure on Victoria’s prison system has been growing for more than a decade,” the spokesman said.
A Victoria Police spokesperson confirmed that prisoners could often be relocated within the state.