Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens’ Corrections spokesperson
The Labor and Liberal parties’ vision for northern Tasmania is to lock people up. Their election pledge to build another prison will cost the state a fortune, make the state less safe, and do nothing to improve the safety of communities in the north.
Realistic minimum estimates to build a northern prison are for more than $137 million, and $30 million every year after to run. The size of the prison population would be small, and the staffing and costs would jeopardise the quality of prison programs and rehabilitation of prisoners.
The plan to build a northern prison is about trying to accommodate the Liberal’s massive increase in prisoners, with Risdon prison now bursting after four years of ‘tough on crime’ policies. It’s disturbing the Labor party is choosing to jump on board this failed and inhumane punitive approach to managing crime.
Instead of locking more people up, the Liberals should have focussed on supporting people through rehabilitation, housing and helping with family connection when they left prison, Instead, they relentlessly pursued a punitive legislative agenda.
The $30 million each year needed to run a northern prison could be spent on world-class drug rehabilitation programs, targeting regional communities desperately struggling with highly addictive drugs and underemployment. That money should be invested on proven programs to rehabilitate offenders so they don’t re-offend. That’s what makes the community safer.
Instead of a vision to lock people up, the Greens aim to help people move from prison into the community with a house, a job, and the drug therapy they need so they never choose a path of crime again.