Budget blows lid on corrections system in crisis

Today’s State Budget has revealed another missed opportunity for the Andrews Labor Government to fix Victoria’s failed prison system, leaving little hope to rehabilitate offenders.  

Under Daniel Andrews, Victoria is operating the most expensive, yet worst performing prisons of any state in the nation with today’s budget confirming;

  • Rate of prisoner return to prison within two years up from 43.3 per cent in 2018-19 to 44.2 per cent in 2019-20
  • Rate of offender return to community corrections within two years up from 15.6 per cent in 2018-19 to 17.1 per cent in 2019-20
  • A $103.6 million budget blowout on additional personal protective equipment and COVID-19 tests in prisons and youth justice facilities
  • Only 78.6 per cent of benchmark measures in prison services agreement achieved in 2019-20
  • Completion of reparation and supervised court orders below benchmark targets
  • Only 1 in 2 family violence offenders successfully completed a violence related program in 2019-20 – down from 73.2 per cent in 2018-19

These figures follow recent data from Corrections Victoria’s monthly Drugs in Victorian Prisons Report which highlights an alarming increase in dangerous drugs and contraband over the March to July 2020 period when compared to 2019, including;  

  • Heroin replacement drug Buprenorphine up 14.33 per cent
  • Alcohol and “home brew” up 51.46 per cent 
  • Syringes and needles up 58.79 per cent

These increases come despite a ban on in-person visits since mid-March 2020 and follow Crime Statistics Agency data revealing that only four charges of drug use were brought against Victorian prisoners in 2019-20, despite a total of 1,828 positive drugs tests over the same period.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Corrections, David Southwick:

“Is it any wonder why Victoria has a revolving door justice system when Daniel Andrews is operating the most expensive, yet worst performing prisons in the nation?

“Labor’s ongoing failure to get our prisons under control and operating well means more hardened criminals and dangerous offenders in the community.

“Under Daniel Andrews, Victoria has become the drug capital of the nation. With more and more drugs on the street and in our prisons, what chance do inmates have of turning their lives around and getting on the right path?”

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