The announcement last week that the Andrews Labor Government in Victoria will spend $1.8 billion to build an additional 1,600 prison beds across Victoria, comes in the wake of a huge increase in the number of prisoners awaiting their court date.
In Victoria, the number of unsentenced, adult prisoners increased by 196% in the six years to March 2019. This means that 35% (2,708 prisoners) of the adult prisoner population1 are unsentenced and subject to the presumption of innocence. The new prison facilities will just cover the projected increase in prisoners on remand over this period.
With the number of applications for Victorian public housing sitting at 82,000, is it really the right time to spend $1.8 billion on a new jail ? With that same amount of money, the Andrews State Government could build 8,612 public housing units according to their own costings. Building more prison beds is not the answer
Sign the petition from the Federation of Community legal Centres to Protect Public homes here:
1 Corrections Victoria, Monthly Prisoner and Offender Statistics