Ararat’s largest employer, the Hopkins Correctional Centre, has marked a significant milestone of 50 years of operation and contribution to the local community.
Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney today visited the centre to celebrate the occasion and to meet with past and present prison staff.
The Hopkins Correctional Centre – originally named the HM Prison Ararat, opened in 1967, replacing the century-old Ballarat Gaol.
After a recent expansion completed in 2015, the medium-security prison now houses about 800 prisoners and employs nearly 400 staff.
The centre features both cell blocks and cottage-style accommodation with a visit centre, multi-faith and Koori centres, industries complex and 24-hour health facility.
Hopkins has always had a focus on industries with a number of busy factories providing work and education opportunities to prisoners in preparation for life after release.
Prisoners are employed in industries including tube steel, screen printing, wooden products, cell furniture, upholstery, packaging, horticulture and number plate manufacturing.
Hopkins industries and prisoner employment opportunities provide goods and services that are used across the prison system, Victoria and the Ararat region.
Hopkins prisoners can also further their education through a range of VET programs run by Federation University.
Construction is underway on a new secure 20-bed facility in Ararat – creating extra space to house serious offenders to help keep Victorians safe.
The facility, which will feature a secure perimeter, is being built next to Hopkins Correctional Centre and is on track to open in 2018.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney
“Hopkins has made a significant contribution over the past 50 years to both Victoria’s correctional system and the Ararat region through community work and job creation.”
“It’s the dedication and hard work of staff who have worked at the facility that’s contributed to creating a safer community and making a positive impact on the lives of prisoners.”
“There’s no higher priority than community safety. We’re making the investments and taking the steps to keep prisoners secure and to keep Victorians safe.”