Community and stakeholder consultation has taken place since the inception of the Prisons Infrastructure Redevelopment Program through a variety of methods, including:
- open days
- displays at the agricultural shows
- doorknocking local residences
- consultations with individuals
- small group discussions.
A wide range of issues have been raised.
The topics covered include the physical infrastructure to be provided in the new prisons and secure mental health unit, such as visits and education facilities, staff training areas, the design of prisoner accommodation units); and the way the new prisons will operate, such as how visits will be scheduled, how remand prisoners will be managed etc.
Different groups of stakeholders have expressed interest in those aspects which they see as of most concern or importance.
Families of prisoners
Families of prisoners have shown great interest in what the new physical environment will be like, the security measures that will be in place to protect inmates and what the new operating approach will be.
The design of prisoner accommodation units, to ensure that different types of prisoners can be adequately separated and that those with different needs can be managed separately, has been a key topic of discussion by families, service providers, advocates and Prison Service staff.
Many suggestions were made about the importance of monitoring and protecting those prisoners seen to be 'at risk'.
Staff of the Prison Service have raised the issue of staff facilities (such as training, car parking and support facilities) as a particular area for consideration during the planning of the new prisons.
Staff have also made important practical contributions to the planning of the facility, particularly in addressing the detail of how different sections within the facility will work.
External service providers
External service providers have also provided their ideas and have had a particular interest in the programs to be provided in the future.
Those service providers who provide counselling, womens health, drug and alcohol, legal or Centrelink services are interested in the type of facilities to be provided, operational policies and how professional visits will be managed.
They have been particularly concerned with ensuring that issues like confidentiality, the safety of the professional and the prisoner and allowing the delivery of efficient services have been given consideration in the design of any new initiatives.