Australia Northern Territory prisons at record levels of overcrowding

11:45  13 february  2018
11:45  13 february  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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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.

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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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Northern Territory prisons at record levels of overcrowding . New figures show NT prisons are again at record levels of overcrowding . abc.net.au.

Northern Territory prisons at record levels of overcrowding . New figures show NT prisons are again at record levels of overcrowding . abc.net.au.

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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Lawyers say record prisoner numbers in Darwin has led to bed shortages, forcing some inmates to sleep on the ground or outside.

There are claims today that overcrowding in Northern Territory prisons has reached crisis point The Prison Officers Association says conditions are third world and in some cases police watch houses.

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."

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

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