Posted on 12. Jun, 2014 in News

A scathing Auditor-General’s report has found that prison overcrowding is wasting police time and resources and making our community unsafe.

Prisoners are being held in suburban police lockups for longer than the 14-day maximum because prisons are too crowded.

According to the Auditor-General, one prisoner was detained in 14 separate locations, moved by transport contractors 40 times and escorted by police between police cells and courts 26 times.

Under Denis Napthine, the cost of prisoner transportation has blown out by 106 per cent, wasting tens of millions of dollars. The full cost is unknown.

The Auditor-General found the Napthine Government has no “overarching and coordinated oversight of prisoner transportation”.

The Auditor-General also found that “neither Corrections Victoria nor Victoria Police collects information about the total number and cost of prisoner movements across the justice system”.

Quotes attributable to Mr Pakula:

“Under Denis Napthine, the crime rate is up, funding is down and police aren’t getting the support they need.”

“Prisons are so overcrowded that police are tied up hauling prisoners around on sightseeing tours of Melbourne rather than out on the street fighting crime.”

Quotes attributable to Mr Noonan:

“Rather than being forced to babysit prisoners in suburban police stations, Victoria Police officers should be on the frontline keeping our communities safe.”

Key Facts:

• About 26 per cent of prisoners were delivered late to court locations.
• On 18 November 2013, the number of prisoners in police cells reached an all-time high, with 372 prisoners being detained in police custody.
• The current prisoner transport contract is for a five-year term ending 30 September 2014. As at May 2014, the tender documentation has not been finalised and the tender has not been released.
• The Auditor General found in a sample of prisoners that 69 per cent of prisoners detained in police cells were held for periods exceeding the gazetted 14 days. One prisoner was moved 12 times and spent 43 days in police custody, including 18 consecutive days at Moorabbin.

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