Mt Eden Use Plans Are Premature
ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today warned people planning future uses of Mt Eden prison not to count chickens before they hatch.
“The prison won’t close in the foreseeable future because there is nowhere to put the prisoners. Mr Robson has not managed to start any of the prisons planned when he came to power.
“Overcrowding will get serious this winter. Long forecast increases in the prison population have made it inevitable.
“Mr Robson came to power promising not to build new prisons because he doesn’t believe in them. His own Department advised him that more than 2,000 new cell spaces were needed, even without any change in policy to reflect the 92% referendum asking for tougher punishment.
“Pseudo-punishments like home detention have not caught on as much as was hoped. Judges know they will not seem to victims to be a fair punishment.
“So Mr Robson will use the plan to close Mt Eden as justification to start building replacement prisons, as a way out of his naive promise. But the need for space by the time they are built will be so critical there is no way Mt Eden will close," Stephen Franks said.