Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Container cells

Shipping containers will be moved into Dhurringile Prison by Christmas to ease the overcrowding crisis in Victoria’s corrections system.

DARREN LINTON December 10, 2013 4:00pm

Dhurringile Prison.

The containers, which will each house two or three prisoners, will be based on those used for accommodation in remote mining camps.

Victorian Corrections Minister Edward O’Donohue said they would be used at Dhurringile Prison and were being considered at two other prisons, Langi Kal Kal and Beechworth.

Mr O’Donohue said it was hoped the containers could be used by Christmas.

‘‘As a result of the government’s toughening of the parole system, there have been some capacity challenges in the system,’’ he said.

‘‘We have taken a number of steps to address that and this is the latest initiative of the government.’’

Corrections plans to add 100 beds to Dhurringile Prison by installing up to 50 shipping containers overseen by an extra 10 prison officers.

The containers will be equipped with showers, toilets, fridges and airconditioning, and will house low-risk prisoners assigned to minimum security prisons.

GPS technology will be used to ensure prisoners cannot leave their containers at night, with Mr O’Donohue saying shipping containers had been used successfully at New Zealand’s Rimutaka Prison.

Corrections Commissioner Jan Shuard yesterday said: ‘‘They’re sealed containers and they’re fitted out with the same amenities that you would have in a regular prison cell, with their showers and basins and beds and cupboards and things like that. And they’re quite a generous space for people to be able to use as their room.’’

Ms Shuard said some of the units, which had been used at remote mining sites, were airconditioned.

‘‘We’re hoping to have them in by the end of December, our first lot. We will work hard to do that, working with our staff,’’ she said.

The Community and Public Sector Union, which represents prison staff, needs to approve the plan.

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