THE Law Society has backed an idea for a new prison in the North to help offenders stay close to their families, but the government has no plans for a new facility.
Defence counsel Evan Hughes, during a plea in mitigation for a client in the Supreme Court on Friday, said Northern offenders suffered from dislocation from their families and support networks.
"There has been consideration of a prison in this part of the state," Mr Hughes told Justice Helen Wood.
On Monday, Law Society of Tasmania president Matthew Verney said he was aware of talk about a new prison and if someone came up with a proposal the society would be very interested in it.
"There's some merit to the idea because it's problematic having prisoners all in the South," Mr Verney said.
"One of the problems that prisoners have is when they are released, readjusting back into their home community.
"And for those who are stuck down in Hobart, it's really difficult for them to maintain any engagement with their families and communities at such a distance."
Mr Verney, however, said he understood the economic issues with a new facility.
A government spokesman said the government had no plans for a new northern prison.
Prisoners Advisory Legal Service chairman Greg Barns said a new prison was "a very good idea".
Mr Barns said any new building would need to be state-of-the art, with educational and therapeutic facilities, and should enable prisoners to remain close to their families, particularly younger prisoners.
He also said the transport of prisoners over long distances was undesirable, when asked if a new facility would help to improve prisoner safety by avoiding lengthy trips between the North and the South.
"As we have seen around Australia, including in Tasmania, death and serious injury can result," Mr Barns said.
A potential upgrade to the ageing Launceston Reception Prison in the next few years is under consideration.