Prison closure confirmed

CORRECTIONS Minister Nick McKim has confirmed sale and closure of the Hayes Prison Farm. “Hayes Prison Farm is an ageing and dilapidated facility and for it to operate into the foreseeable future, the government would need to spend around $4.5 million just to keep it at a reasonable standard and to ensure it is safe for inmates and staff.

“Although seeing Hayes close will be a somewhat sad occasion, in a modern corrections system the government believes the money expended operating Hayes, and the funding needed to keep it operating, can be better spent,” Mr McKim said.

Mr McKim said the Tasmania Prison Service would retain all proceeds from the sale to spend on refurbishing two divisions at the Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison at Risdon, including a pre-release transition facility.

Staff at Hayes had been advised of the decision and all would be retained and relocated to other positions within the prison service.“The sale process will take some time while the Department undertakes further work to prepare for the closure,” Mr McKim said.

“The decision to sell Hayes Prison Farm is about better correctional outcomes. This is a significant step in modernising our corrections system. Transition from prison to the community is a very high-risk time for inmates and pre-release accommodation is designed to replicate community living. It will give selected inmates the opportunity to prepare for release by taking charge of key areas of their life including cooking, budgeting and the normal routines of daily life, while still remaining in a supervised environment.

“It will also provide a strong incentive for good behaviour by inmates to achieve the necessary security rating for placement there.Improved rehabilitation and employment opportunities can be provided for inmates by centralising services and by providing improved access to programs, education and skills based training.

“The Tasmania Prison Service is undertaking planning for other infrastructure improvements as part of the Prison Infrastructure Redevelopment Program. The sale of Hayes was recommended by the Legislative Select Committee on Correctional Services and Sentencing in 1999.

“It is important that the closure of Hayes is considered in that context, along with recent reports such as the Palmer Report, the Ombudsman’s Report and the Workplace Standards Tasmania Report into workplace safety,” Mr McKim said. “The closure of Hayes will help us to deliver a Prison Service that will reduce recidivism by providing genuine opportunities for rehabilitation which benefits all Tasmanians.”

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