A redeveloped unit at Risdon Prison will cater for inmates with a disability.
Attorney-General Elise Archer opened the $1.35 million 40-bed facility at the Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison at Risdon on Thursday.
Director of Prisons Ian Thomas said he was delighted with the 40 refurbished beds which would allow the prison to provide greater incentives for prisoners.
“For the first time in TPS this unit has also been redesigned and reconfigured to allow us to better care for prisoners that come into prison with significant disabilities which unfortunately a number of our men do,” Mr Thomas said.
“Those prisoners will be accommodated in this unit along with the carers that will allow us to manage those prisoners more effectively and that’s prisoners trained to care for prisoners with significant disabilities.
“It gives them skills and more importantly it allows us provide decent and appropriate accommodation for these men while they are in minimum security.”
Ms Archer said a small number of inmates were involved in the demolition of old infrastructure, steel fabrication and painting the new unit.
She said as well as catering for inmates with a disability, the redeveloped unit would include housing for aged inmates and included a wheelchair lift for disabled access.
“The government is committed to investing in prison infrastructure, having committed a further $1.65 million in 2018-19 for additional work at the Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison,” Ms Archer said.
“We realise that these facilities have been left for too long by previous governments and that’s why we’ve embarked on a significant reform in relation to our prison infrastructure.”
“The commissioning comes less than a month after the opening of the $2.6 million Dr Vanessa Goodwin Cottages at the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison and is part of the Tasmanian Government’s plan to boost capacity within the Tasmania prison system.
“Our plans to build a new $270 million prison in the State’s North, with 270 beds and the creation of more than 4000 direct and indirect jobs, is also progressing well.”
Ms Archer said while the government made no apologies for being “tough on serious crime”, it also wanted offenders to get their lives back on track and become productive, law-abiding members of society.