Calls for new jail rejected
Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan has rejected calls from local politicians for a new prison and juvenile facility at Greenough.
Instead, he said his Government had already begun work on five new double-storey units with almost 900 new beds at Casuarina and Bunbury prisons.
“This is not continuing the previous Liberal-National government’s short-sighted tactic of simply putting more beds into existing cells,” he said. “This is the equivalent of a new jail in less than a third of the time and for a fraction of the estimated $1.5 billion cost.
“Work is under way now to restore Greenough and the results of the independent review will guide future improvements that may be needed.”
Mr Logan’s comments came after a letter from Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney requesting a new purpose-built jail at Greenough that catered for youth as well as both sexes.
Mr Logan said State legislation did not allow for juveniles to be held within an adult facility.
“It is therefore not possible to expand the infrastructure at Greenough Regional Prison to accommodate juvenile offenders, nor is this government in the financial position to do so if it was allowable,” he said.
“There is no doubting the challenges in juvenile justice but they were compounded in 2012 when the previous Liberal-National government closed the Rangeview Juvenile Remand Centre and left just Banksia Hill to accommodate juvenile offenders.
“Virtually nothing was done for juvenile justice and instead of building new facilities around the regions, millions of taxpayers’ dollars were wasted on plastic cows and singing toilets.” Mr Logan said his Government was working on youth justice but could not “build its way out of the situation” while trying to bring record debt under control.
“We have stabilised Banksia Hill and are investigating other options throughout the regions to try to find alternatives but youth justice is a highly complicated area,” he said.
Mr Logan was on holidays overseas during the July prison escapes and riot and unable to respond to Mayor Shane Van Styn’s call for a new prison and juvenile facility.
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