Victoria will need three new prisons

The Victorian prisoner population has grown by over 160% in last decade with 35 per cent of prisoners now on remand.[1] The prison population is growing faster than the general adult population which increased by 24% over this period. (Source: Corrections Victoria’s Annual Prisoner Statistics). 

The rate of imprisonment has increased from 62 prisoners per 100,000 Victorian adults in 2000 to 118 per 100,000 in 2018, an increase of 90%.

The Andrews government expects prisoner numbers to soar from 8110 today to 11,130 by June 2022. 

The current capacity of the Victorian prison system is 8900.[2]

Currently, it is planned to increase prison capacity by 3700 by 2022. This will bring the total planned capacity to 12,600[3].

When the planned capacity for 2020 is compared to the modelled prediction of prisoner numbers by 2030 based on current growth rates, it can be seen that the new capacity limit will be reached in 2027. 

This will leave the shortfall of 3312 prison beds by 2030.

Victoria’s largest prison, Ravenhall now has expanded its capacity to 1600 from its original 1300 through the use of double bunking.

The projected increase will require the building of at least two new prisons with the planned capacity of that of Ravenhall .

[1] A. Freiberg and S. Ross, Sentencing Reform and Penal Change: The Victorian Experience (The Federation Press, 1999); Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Demographic Statistics, Dec 2018, Cat. No. 3101.0 (2019); Australian Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners in Australia, 2018, Cat. No. 4517.0 (2018).