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Social Policy

Opinion: The biggest issues & innovations for prisons in 2015

21 Jan 2015, by Informa Insights

Figures from last year show that prisons in Australia have been overcrowding with 30, 000 people currently predicted to be incarcerated in our borders. This is currently the highest number of prisoners in Australia throughout history. We spoke to a few industry experts who will be delivering presentations at the Prisons 2015 conference about the biggest challenges, and biggest improvements to Australian prisons for 2015.

What are the biggest issues facing correctional services throughout the States and Territories today? How can we begin to address these?

‘I think all jurisdictions battle with where best to spend the limited funding that is available to them. The short term solutions of increasing bed numbers often leaves little to be spent on meaningful rehabilitation programs, education, parenting programs etc. Political ideologies which support incarceration over alternative non-custodial sentences all add to the pressures on bed numbers and make this the highest priority, a stance which is ultimately short sighted.’
Sarah Paddick, Principal Architect, Totalspace Design

‘The increasing numbers of prisoners in custody.
The ongoing disproportion of Aboriginal prisoners in all jurisdictions.
Prisons being used as mental asylums (for the mentally ill), rehabilitation centres (for the drug dependent) and work-houses (for the unemployable).’
Michael Levy AM, Australian National University

‘From my perspective, prisoner rehabilitation and societal reintegration are major challenges facing correctional services. Prisoners require access to on-line education services to better compete with their non-incarcerated counterparts, and prison staff need better tools to better manage prisoner re-integration.’
Ron Fabre, PrisonPC Lead Architect, Cyber IT Solutions

What are some of the best programs or innovations you have seen introduced in a corrections environment?

‘Parenting programs at Emu Plains, Jacaranda Cottages.
On site supermarket for prisoners at Boronia Pre Release Centre.
Sodexo private prisons in England – the use of smart card technologies to give prisoners access to personal fund, timetables, canteen etc.
Video calls to children of prisoners, and the ‘Read Me a Story Program’ where parents record a story for their children to listen to.’
Sarah Paddick, Principal Architect, Totalspace Design

‘Throughcare, in all its different manifestations.
Conjugal visits in Victoria.
Pharmacotherapy program in South Australia.
Children’s’ visits in New South Wales and ACT.
Human Rights scrutiny in Western Australia and ACT.’
Michael Levy AM, Australian National University

‘Some of the most exciting and valuable innovations I’ve seen introduced in the past ten years have been on-line distance education programs for inmates and portable ebook readers to access reading and education material. Also interesting is that some jurisdictions are considering on-line counselling.’
Ron Fabre, PrisonPC Lead Architect, Cyber IT Solutions

What do you think we will begin to see more of in future corrections projects throughout this country?

‘Security innovations relating to RFID tracking of prisoners within a facility.
Use of biometrics and smart cad technologies for prisoner management and movement.
Unfortunately I believe we will also see more use of “shipping container” accommodation, double bunking and further focus on increasing bed numbers.’
Sarah Paddick, Principal Architect, Totalspace Design

‘Capped bed-status (prisons will not be able to hold more than 90% of their official bed-capacity)’
Michael Levy AM, Australian National University

‘Using unified technology platforms to deliver education, training, counselling, family, and societal re-integration programs.’
Ron Fabre, PrisonPC Lead Architect, Cyber IT Solutions

What are you looking forward to most about attending and speaking at Prisons 2015?

‘Discussion and collaboration with other professionals in this field.’
Sarah Paddick, Principal Architect, Totalspace Design

‘Meeting my Custodial counterparts’
Michael Levy AM, Australian National University

‘I’m looking forward to learning more about what the various prisons are planning over the next five years and how they’re coordinating their education requirements with their relevant providers.’
Ron Fabre, PrisonPC Lead Architect, Cyber IT Solutions


P15K08_Prisons_600x158Prisons 2015 will uncover insights and expertise on whole of life cycle management of correctional facilities in Australia. The 2015 conference will encompass a program that will accommodate more stakeholders in the correctional facilities industry, and will reflect how this industry has evolved over time. Register here to discover the latest on Australian correctional facilities.

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