New prisons a distraction from overcrowding


New planning funds for NSW prisons announced today completely fail to address the immediate crisis of overcrowding in our prisons, Shadow Minister for Corrections Guy Zangari said.

“This Government’s management of NSW prisons does not have any resemblance to a plan – under the Liberals we have seen complete chaos,” Mr Zangari said.

“This Liberal Government went on a cost cutting spree in its’ first term – it has been clear for some time that cost-cutting was very short-sighted. 

“Our prison population is bursting at the seams, as confirmed in the Justice Department’s recent ‘Full House’ report.

“Today we finally see some action from this Government to mitigate for their incompetence over the past four years.

“What is clear is that the Liberals are just chasing media headlines. Minister Elliott wants to wave around a cheque for $20 million and hope nobody notices this commitment is only for planning.

“If these new prisons ever do see the light of day, it won’t be for another three of four years – that won’t help the overcrowding in our prisons today, tomorrow or even next year.

“Under the Liberals, we have seen prisons closed and re-opened. Today’s zinger is reports of a new prison to be built in Grafton – just years after the Liberals downsized the existing Grafton gaol.

“The Liberals’ mismanagement of prison has not just led to dangerous overcrowding; it has also had an impact on regional economies. People in Grafton have been placed on a rollercoaster ride since the surprise downgrade of the gaol in 2012.

“Why was a public prison downgraded, and 100 jobs lost, only to have a privately-run prison in the works a few years later?

“A properly run prison system does not need more privatisation.

“The government has admitted its own failings in this area but today’s news does not come near fixing their own mess.”