Victoria’s criminal courts will decide which violent offenders serve their time in Ararat prison’s new specialty ward.
That’s according to testimony given by Corrections Minister and Western Victoria MP Gayle Tierney.
The state government is in the process of completing a new 20-bed ‘Rivergum’ secure facility at Hopkins Correctional Centre outside Ararat.
The Rivergum ward, with a construction cost of more than $32 million, was designed to house serious sex offenders and serious violent offenders after their prison sentence.
Ms Tierney told a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee budget hearing that courts would be able to send offenders to centres across Victoria.
Committee member and Labor Eltham MP Vicki Ward asked Ms Tierney about new violent offender laws and how they would “keep our community safer”.
“What will occur essentially is that if someone is serving a sentence for a particular serious crime and it becomes clear to those that have been managing that offender that, leading up to that person finishing their sentence, there is an evidence base that this person still will place the community at risk,” Ms Tierney said.
Ms Tierney said prosecutors could apply to the court for inmates to be housed in specialty wards.
“Also the courts will decide whether the person will be placed at a particular residence, whether it be Corella or the new Rivergum facility that is being built just outside of Ararat,” he said.
The hearing was also told Ararat prison’s community advisory group was a model of success for other centres.
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