The mayor of a regional Victorian council that houses three prisons says few residents even notice them, but their presence had added some pressure to the local rental market.
Mount Alexander Shire is home to the medium security Loddon Prison in Castlemaine, minimum security Middleton Prison as an annex to Loddon, and the Tarrengower women's prison near Maldon.
They were built progressively from the late 1980s to early 2000s.
The combined capacity of Loddon and Middleton is more than 600 - far greater than the proposed 270-bed capacity of the maximum security Northern Prison proposed for Westbury.
Mount Alexander Shire mayor Bronwen Machin said the prisons had good relationships with the local communities.
"I never hear any angst about the prisons. But what I do hear is questions about why we don't use the prisoners more on our community projects," she said.
"Of course, Castlemaine has historically had prisons in the past, so if the prison is a new thing, they are always frightening for residents.
MORE ON PLANS FOR THE NORTHERN PRISON:
"Castlemaine also has a lot of housing stress - rentals and housing prices are too high - and that causes stress for people who are associated with the prison and the prisoners."
Several community groups run programs within the prison, including a dad's reading group, while the prison hosts community leaders for an annual Christmas lunch.
The first stage of the Northern Prison is expected to take five years, with the full project to take 10 years, built on a site in the Westbury Industrial Precinct to the north of the main township. It will be the second main adult prison for Tasmania.
Cr Machin said it could be an opportunity for a town like Westbury to lobby the Tasmanian Government to improve other services in the town.
"If I were the local council, I'd be asking the state government to provide much better public transport connections to the town," she said.
"What can they ask the government for that will help link this development and improve infrastructure for the town?"
While Mount Alexander Shire had a largely positive experience with their prisons, it was a different case for Macedon Ranges Shire to the immediate south, which houses the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre.
Malmsbury has experienced regular riots among inmates and multiple escapes, including incidents that resulted in carjackings on members of the public. Victorian legal groups blame increasingly punitive measures - like isolation - and years of under-funding for the heightening tensions.
Just this week a prison guard was allegedly stabbed by an inmate.
The local fire brigade also attends multiple call-outs to the site each week for all incidents, prompting the Victorian Government to establish a community advisory committee.