Australia Northern Territory prisons at record levels of overcrowding

11:45  13 february  2018
11:45  13 february  2018 Source:   ABC News

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More beds are being added to the Northern Territory 's prisons and correctional centres as prisoner numbers hit record levels . Overcrowding is worst in Alice Springs where there are 609 prisoners at the town's correctional centre, equal to 121 per cent of capacity.

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The Darwin Correctional Centre is 2.8 per cent over design capacity, according to the figures.© Provided by ABC News The Darwin Correctional Centre is 2.8 per cent over design capacity, according to the figures. Northern Territory prisons are again at record levels of overcrowding, according to new figures published by the NT Correctional Services department.

The Alice Springs prison is more than 20 per cent over its design capacity and the Barkly work camp is at similar levels, February data shows.

Darwin's prison at Holtze, which was almost full when it was opened in 2014, is now almost three per cent over capacity.

"NT Correctional Services is implementing a range of measures to manage growing prisoner numbers in the Territory's correctional centres and work camps, with prisoner numbers reaching an all-time high this week," the department said in a statement.

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“….the sheer numbers of prisoners and overcrowding are threatening all four parts of the healthy prison concept. Local prisons are becoming like transit camps. 1. Over the last year prison overcrowding has been at its highest recorded level .

In a series of reports, one committee boasted about the lack of suicide attempts at one prison in Dublin.

It said there would be more double-bunking in Darwin's prison, with 40 additional beds, along with extra staff and an assessment of open rated prisoners for home detention or work camps.

Overall, the Northern Territory has about 1,800 prisoners, which is almost nine per cent over capacity.

The only facility with room is the Datjala work camp in Nhulunbuy, which is almost 90 per cent full.

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Campaigners have warned the levels of overcrowding in prisons , along with severe staff shortages, has created a “toxic” situation in the current prison system, and warned that the Government response of building large new prisons is not the correct approach.

Overcrowding occurs when the level of occupancy exceeds 100. Of the States for which data is available, Queensland and the Northern Territory had overcrowded prison systems and New South Wales and Western Australia were both close to capacity, in 1995.

The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency's chief executive Priscilla Atkins said the under-resourcing of NT prisons had meant a reduction in rehabilitation programs.

Ms Atkins said the problem was being made worse by mandatory sentencing and so-called "street time" not being taken into account when parole was breached.

"It shouldn't be up to corrections," she said.

"They're the ones that have to pick up the pieces at the end, it should be the front end that the government should be investing in."

The Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said a recent spike in remand numbers was to blame.

He said he had asked the Attorney-General Natasha Fyles to investigate what was behind the surge.

"To respond to that, health are putting some extra beds into the Holtze prison to manage it," he said.

A Katherine prison alternative was flagged by Labor after the Holtze prison was built.

Mr Gunner said the idea was "taken off the table" by the Country Liberal Party.

"The Attorney-General is looking at those plans and the timing of what we can do to bring that online," he said.

"What we've been working on through the Aboriginal Justice Unit has been negotiations around community placement or community detention."

France plays catch-up coping with radicalized prisoners .
The truth is that making room for more returnees in French prisons, some built in the 19th century, could put new strains on the prison system — and be a tight squeeze. By December 2017, some prisons were over capacity by 220 percent, according to the Justice Ministry. It's not uncommon for numerous inmates to share a cell meant for one.Already there are 500 people convicted or awaiting trial for terrorism in French prisons, and 1,150 under watch for varying degrees of radicalization or potential radicalization — about 130 of them returnees from the war zone.

Source: http://au.pressfrom.com/news/australia/-55171-northern-territory-prisons-at-record-levels-of-overcrowding/

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