The Coalition Government today announced a 120 bed expansion of Loddon Prison, near Castlemaine, as part of the Coalition Government’s ongoing plan to modernise and upgrade Victoria’s prison system.
Visiting Loddon Prison today, Corrections Minister Andrew McIntosh said the project would deliver jobs and economic opportunities to the local community while also addressing Labor’s shameful neglect of the prison system, which has created ongoing capacity issues.
“The new beds at Loddon form part of the Coalition Government’s prison expansion program, which will see 395 additional beds added to the existing prison system over the next two years,” Mr McIntosh said.
“For more than two decades, Loddon Prison has played an important role in the local Castlemaine area, and we look forward to working with Mount Alexander Shire and the local community to deliver a new chapter in the prison’s history.”
The expansion will generate valuable local economic opportunities and up to 120 jobs during the construction phase, and will support 40 permanent jobs once construction is complete.
“The new facility will provide important rehabilitation and reintegration services to prisoners as they come towards the end of their sentence, helping people to lead productive and crime-free lives when they return to the community,” Mr McIntosh said.
This year’s budget included $670.4 million for the construction of a new 500-bed prison and the 395 bed expansion, which includes the 120 new beds at Loddon.
Minister McIntosh opened 108 new prison beds – 54 at Dhurringile and 54 at Langi Kal Kal – in July, and opened 84 new beds at Victoria’s maximum security women’s prison, the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, in September this year.
A new 85-bed unit is also due to open at Port Phillip Prison before the end of the year.
“This new facility at Loddon will assist prisoners with offence-specific treatment programs, education, vocational training, and post-release issues,” Mr McIntosh said.
The prison currently accommodates medium-security prisoners serving short, medium and long-term sentences for a range of offences. It also accommodates prisoners with disabilities or other complex needs.
Loddon Prison opened in August 1990 as a replacement for the old Castlemaine Gaol, which originally opened in 1861 to service the goldfields and surrounding towns.
The project is expected to be completed towards the middle of 2014, subject to the necessary planning approvals.