Melbourne desperately needs a new remand facility
The Herald Sun has reported that Victoria's prisoner custody system is at breaking point.
We believe that the current process of managing prisoners in custody is flawed and overly reliant on police-managed resources.
“Prisoners in police custody should only remain in basic police facilities for the shortest possible time, after which they should be transferred into the control of corrections staff at corrections facilities,” TPAV Secretary Wayne Gatt
The Herald Sun also reports that police are regularly required to transfer offenders from Melbourne to as far as Wangaratta to find prison cell space.
Melbourne to Wangaratta
"The crisis is being blamed on a crime crackdown, with tough new bail laws resulting in an explosion in the number of remand prisoners.
It has also thrown the justice system into chaos, with dozens of prisoners missing scheduled court hearings sparking long delays in matters being finalised.
Magistrates have warned that by mid-2019 the system will be unable to manage a further increase in the number of remand prisoners."
The Association's broader view on the issue that the current process for managing prisoners in police custody is fundamentally flawed, and is overly reliant on police and police-managed resources.
Prisoners in police custody should only remain in basic police facilities for the shortest possible time, after which they should be transferred into the control of corrections staff at corrections facilities.
Currently, police cells regularly run towards capacity due to the number of sentenced and remanded prisoners held in police cells. Further, the use of police cells to hold young offenders for anything more than overnight remand is unacceptable and not in the best interest of at-risk youth or police.
Despite recent attempts to alleviate the impact of custodial management from police through the introduction of Police Custody Officers, the ultimate responsibility and workload remains with police.
To combat this, we recommend that all sentenced prisoners should be managed by the Department of Corrections personnel in its facilities.
For this reason, TPAV strongly advocates that additional remand facilities be constructed to service the metropolitan Melbourne area and that these facilities be fully managed within the corrections system.
After their first presentation at court, prisoners who are remanded should also be managed in Department of Corrections facilities from this point.
26 July 2018